September 20, 2012

Detectives caution people about ongoing scam

Sheriff’s detectives say they have two more reports of a scam in which people received phone calls about injured loved ones along with a request for money to make sure they remain safe.

On September 7th, a Tavernier man received a call. The caller had a  Hispanic accent, was loud, profane and said he had the victim’s brother. He said the brother had been involved in an accident and was now being held captive. He said “they” would kill the brother unless the victim came up with $2,000.00.

The victim was instructed to go to a local Publix grocery store and send the money via money order to Puerto Rico. The man would not allow the victim to hang up the phone, so he stayed on the phone and drove to his brother’s house, which was just a short distance away. His brother was home, safe, and unaware of the phone call. When the caller was confronted with being a fraud, he hung up.

Detective Yunier Galvez has been assigned to investigate the case.

On September 12th, a Stock Island man received a call from a man who said his son had been in an accident on a moped. The caller said “they” did not want the police involved, and wanted money for the moped. The caller said they were holding his son, who was injured, and would let him go once they received $1,500.00 sent to Puerto Rico via Western Union. The victim said he only had $600.00. The caller agreed to that amount.

Like the previous report, the caller would not let the man off the phone until he sent the money. The victim in this case did wire the money. The caller insisted he stay on the phone the entire time. As the victim was driving home, he saw his son driving to Stock Island and stopped, realizing he’d been scammed.

The son told deputies he’d received the same call, only the caller said his father had been in an accident and was injured. When the son said he had no money, the caller put him on hold, then returned to the phone. The caller told him his father said there was jewelry at their house he could pawn. The son got the jewelry, pawned it, and then wired the money as instructed. The entire time, he was instructed to remain on the phone. The caller said if he hung up, they would assume he was calling police and they would kill his father.

Once the father and son found each other, they realized they’d been scammed and called the Sheriff’s Office.

Detective David Cruz is investigating.

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