HOUSTON, TX – We guess it’s true what people say, ‘there’s a sucker born every minute’. But just in case you’re naive enough to send your hard earned cash to some stranger on the phone, the Houston Police Department Major Offenders Division wants citizens to know about a swindle being seen in the area dubbed the “Relative in Distress” scam.
The scammers, who as of recently have tried to pass themselves off as customs or ICE agents, tell the victim that they have their relative in custody for trying to smuggle money into the country. Then they tell the victim that if a penalty isn’t paid for this undeclared cash, their relative will be arrested. HPD says about eight victims in the past six weeks, have fallen for the scam. Usually about one to two thousand dollars are taken from the victims.
Another scam, called the “Latin Lotto” because both perpetrator and victim are usually Hispanic is also becoming popular. The perpetrator will normally approach the victim and say they have a winning lotto ticket, but can’t cash it in because they are illegal immigrants. The bogus ticket is then sold to the victim for thousands of dollars.
These might sound like the oldest tricks in the book, but HPD is saying people are still falling for them. The police want you to keep in mind; if it sounds too good to be true, it is.