Hispanics may be target of phone scam | VailDaily.com

Hispanics may be target of phone scam

Veronica Whitney

GYPSUM – Local Hispanics should be aware if someone calls requesting money to help a relative come to the United States, warned a local woman who said she was almost taken in by an apparent phone scam.The 28-year-old Gypsum woman, who asked not to be identified for safety reasons, said on Jan. 14 somebody called her and demanded she and her husband send $1,600 through a Western Union wire transfer to pay for the smuggling from Mexico of her husband’s brother.”They said they were calling from Arizona and said they wanted to talk to my husband,” the woman said. “They said they were bringing my husband’s brother and that he should have $1,600 ready to pay for the ‘coyote.'”Coyote is a slang term for a person who helps immigrants sneak into the United States. The woman said she has heard of several similar scams in the valley.”They told my husband that they were bringing his brother and they were arriving into Denver that day,” she said. “We hadn’t talked to my brother-in-law, but he never said he was coming.”They took us by surprise. My husband thought he was coming because he was getting a divorce in Mexico,” she said.The woman’s husband was told to send the money to California through Western Union, she said. “My husband said ‘no,’ that he first had to see his brother,” she said. The caller told him he would talk to him later in the day. The caller also said the woman who was bringing his brother already was in Denver and they needed the money, the woman said. “He again said he first needed to see his brother and they told him they would beat him up and throw him anywhere,” she said. “So my husband got nervous. My husband was about to wire the money from City Market when my sister-in-law called and said his brother was in Mexico,”In the past weeks, the Gypsum woman said she’s heard of three similar cases.”We have a friend in Edwards who went through a similar situation,” the woman said. “They sometimes call with offers saying you can pay with the credit card.””They’re defrauding people,” she added. “I feel very unsafe, they’re grabbing the numbers from the phone books.”The woman said her husband contacted police, who told him it would take a long time to track the phone call.”We would be interested in pursuing it, but I haven’t heard from it,” said Eagle County Sheriff Det. Dan Loya. “It would be something to follow up. If someone gets a call requesting money, Loya recommended people get their phone number, address and name before sending money.”There are a lot of scams,” Loya said. “If it they have any doubts, call the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office or their local police.”Staff Writer Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454, or vwhitney@vaildaily.com. Vail, Colorado

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