- Health & Safety>
- Latin American Call Centers Extorting People
Here's a certain scam that you are probably familiar with if you are from the US.
We all know about those type of calls people back home get where the person on the other end is from some country like India demanding you give them money somehow.
Though they don't always claim to be from India!
In many cases, they might try to claim that they are the IRS and that you owe them money like you can see here.
In this sense, Latin America isn't really any different in that we also have folks calling you with the hopes of scamming you.
There are some key differences though.
For one, I've never heard of any of these scammers calling in with a very strong Indian accent.
The Indian scammers seem to find Mexico to be a waste of time and I guess they prefer the US!
In that sense, you have more Mexicans scamming the Mexicans when it comes to this shit down here.
Therefore, as you can guess, a lot of the scammers are actually based locally and not living far away protected in some other country that would be hard to prosecute.
Though, in the case of Mexico, it's not always easy going after these folks either despite them being in the same country.
Third, as I wrote about here, sometimes the scammers get "a little bit extreme" down here in that sometimes they'll threaten to kill your family members that they claim to have hostage if you don't give up the dough (hint: many times they don't actually have said family member but it could happen!).
Anyway, I figured I'd cover this type of scam that you get in Mexico and likely other Latin American countries so that you are not a victim of it.
It should be easy to avoid such a scam even if those trying to scam you are persistent and annoying.
But it's a scam anyway meant to steal your personal information usually and sometimes try to extort you with threats like mentioned before.
Let's get into it.
A Phone Call to Angie
Recently, I got talking with an old Mexican gal that I've known for some years named Angie.
Ever since I've known her, she's always had bad luck with people trying to scam her over the phone.
As far as I've known, she's never fallen for it but does seem to be a common enough target for these people.
Quite commonly, they'll just say that they have her father or mother kidnapped and want money or they'll kill the parent.
Which, unfortunately for them, the scam doesn't work as well I guess if they claim to have the mother since she's already dead.
Anyway, not too long ago, we met up and she ended up getting a phone call by a random number she didn't recognize.
Answering it, she immediately gets some woman on the phone seemingly trying to sell her a deal to some hotel where she had some award waiting for her.
Some special offer that is available now! And only now! Did you hear me?!?! ONLY NOW!!!
And, upon recognizing right away what this is about, Angie immediately is trying to politely shut this down before my very eyes with a "no, no, gracias, no."
But the lady continued!
What was said after?
Well, she wasn't on speaker actually.
Angie ended the call when the lady on the other end wasn't getting the message.
Asking her "what was that about?" Angie responded about what was going on.
Apparently, she's been getting a handful of these calls over the last month!
Where, from what she told me, they basically try to offer you a sweet deal to whatever the fuck it is.
Be it a hotel deal, perhaps some services for a specific company, etc.
And, if you accept the special reward now, you have to offer your credit card information and other personal data to claim the reward right now.
Obviously, that's where they hit you with the stealing of your information if I had to take a wild guess.
Anyway, apparently sometimes these folks can be a bit intimidating and even threaten you and try to extort you if playing nice isn't working.
Do they actually act out on the threats of violence?
If I had to guess, probably not?
Never heard of that happening but it wouldn't surprise me.
Whenever incidents like this happen (and have happened to me a few times like I wrote here where one dude claimed he kidnapped "my daughter"), their threats don't amount to anything.
Fortunately though, I've never had anyone try to sell me a special reward for a hotel or whatever to steal my information.
Just the threats to kill my mysterious daughter.
Though, in that case, I would argue it's because my main phone is an American one.
I do have a Mexican phone but it's deactivated right now.
I need to activate it again when I get back to taking photos of Mexico City in a week or less.
By then, I might get some "special reward" offers randomly because, however they do it, they manage to get the number of any Mexican number it seems.
Perhaps they just type random numbers in?
Your guess is as good as mine.
Anyway, I tried looking up to see also if there's any reporting done on this issue to give you more examples to work with to understand it.
For one, I found this here and took a screenshot of some suspects being arrested by the Mexican police for using a call center to steal data, extort, etc.
Anyway, that's all I got to say on this simple scam.
It's pretty obvious, isn't it?
Just don't offer your personal information to strangers.
And, when it comes to denouncing this problem to the authorities, I have my doubts it'll do anything usually.
While it's nice to see examples like the suspects above getting arrested, I don't ever have much faith in Mexican police.
Also, as I have read here, apparently it's hard for the police to do anything as supposedly it's hard to track down the people doing this.
Be it hard to track down or if the police are just lazy or under resourced is anyone's guess.
Why not both?
But I'll leave it at that.
Got anything to add?
Leave a comment below.
And follow my Twitter here.
Thanks for reading.