Police warn about Mexican phone scams

April 18, 2013

Delaware State Police are warning Sussex County residents about a phone scam that involves wiring money to Mexico.

Police are investigating several cases in which an alleged grandson calls an elderly resident and says he needs thousands of dollars immediately, said Cpl. John Day of the Delaware State Police.

The caller sometimes explains he needs money for bail because of a car accident or he needs to buy a plane ticket to leave the country, Day said.

The caller usually says he is embarrassed to tell his parents.

Day said some residents have wired thousands of dollars to Mexico only to discover their grandson is not there.

Police remind residents to follow these tips before wiring money:

  • Verify that whoever you think is asking for money is actually abroad. Call the parents or another relative. Most victims later realize their relative was never traveling.
  • Ask the caller questions that only your relative would know.
  • Obtain a phone number at which you can call back the caller.
  • If you feel you must pay for something abroad, attempt to do it with a credit card, instead of wiring the money. This makes it easier to identify the recipient and rescind payment.
  • If you are skeptical about the caller, talk to a neighbor or friend about the call before sending any money.

Day said scammers often continue calling for money. Anyone who believes they may have been a victim should call police.

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