COSTA RICA – With the new online application by the Ministry of Finance (Ministerio de Hacienda), consumers can anonymously report cases of smuggling of goods.

The application found on www.mercadoilegal.com is easy to use.

Using Google maps, the user clicks on the location, the type of contraband, the name of the place, a description and the option to add photos, accept the terms and conditions and then “publicar” (publish).

The information is then used by Finance official to follow-up the illegal smuggling and sale of items like cigarettes, liquor, drugs, personal care, perfumes and more.

It is believed that in Costa Rica more than 350.000 million contraband cigarettes and 100.000 cases of liquor are traded annually.

Last year, Finance says it confiscated some 5.500 cases of perfumes, 50.000 units of shampoo and large amounts of medications, all items that could be inferior and a risk to health.

A recent poll revealed that 50% of the people in Costa Rica admitted to having purchased or sold contraband items.

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