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US Customs discovers unemployment debit cards on passenger returning from Jamaica

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 11, CMC – The United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agency says officers discovered five unemployment benefit cards bearing other beneficiaries’ names in the possession of a traveller returning from Jamaica at Philadelphia International Airport on Wednesday.

CBP said it is not releasing the man’s name “because he was not criminally charged,” adding that “an investigation continues.”

It’s reported that the officers selected the traveller, a 29-year-old US citizen, for a secondary examination after he arrived on a flight from Montego Bay, Jamaica.

During the examination, CBP said the traveller extracted five Visa Debit cards from his jeans pocket.

“Officers realised that all five cards displayed names different than the traveller’s name,” the statement said.

“The traveller was uncooperative and alleged he found the cards on the ground in Philadelphia. CBP officers contacted the bank listed on the Visa debit cards and learned that the cards were unemployment benefit cards,” it added. “Three cards held balances, but had not yet been activated. CBP officers detained all five cards.”

Keith Fleming, acting director of Field Operations for CBP’s Baltimore Field Office, said “financial fraud and theft take many forms, but they all have one thing in common – it causes severe hardship to its victims. The theft of the financial benefits from these cards is especially painful during this pandemic, with many people struggling to pay bills and feed their families,” he said.

“This is an instance where our border security mission helped our state partners identify and prevent financial crimes and other illicit enterprises that are taking place in our communities,” he added.

CBP said officers from the Office of Field Operations conducts the agency’s border security mission at US ports of entry.

It said CBP officers screen international travellers and cargo, and search for dangerous drugs, unreported currency, weapons, counterfeit consumer goods, prohibited agriculture, and other illicit products “that could potentially harm the American public, US businesses, and our nation’s safety and economic vitality.”

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