November 4, 2013
Police are warning people about a popular scam being used recently to dupe victims out of money to help relatives who are supposedly in serious trouble.
Dubbed the “relative in distress” hoax, the scam begins when a victim receives an e-mail or telephone call purportedly from relatives or friends who are visiting the area from another country or state and claim to be in trouble, according to the Houston Police Department. The people supposedly in distress say they need money.
Also, victims may receive telephone calls from people posing as representatives of the federal Border Patrol. The phony caller says the victims’ relatives are being detained for trying to illegally enter the country or for trying to possibly smuggle a large amount cash into the country. The victim is told to pay a fine or bond by wire transfer to get the relative released from custody.