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- The Mexican Police Extorting You With a “Stolen Phone”
Interested in a new type of extortion in Mexico?
Well, over the years here, you end up thinking you've seen it all but you never really have.
There's always a new surprise around the corner in Latin America that'll leave someone who even has had a decade here surprised.
Well, from what I've read, supposedly it's a "new" scam in Mexico and it's new to me anyhow.
Just recently, I went out to a bar to have a beer with a dude I've met at the gym named Andres in my neighborhood and we got talking about all sorts of stuff.
We've been hanging out maybe once a week or once every two weeks.
Whenever there is time and we feel like meeting up.
Anyway, we got talking last time in part about crime in Mexico.
He was telling me at first about how he and his sister got robbed the other day by some "motoladrones" near Buenavista area.
But then he started going off about some scams I should watch out for.
Just dropping some tips about some new shit happening these days.
We both got talking about some recent incident in our area of Santo Domingo of CDMX where some cop ran over a random dude and claimed he damaged his cop vehicle.
But, beyond being run over by the cops, what else should you worry about?
Could the cops -- who you are supposed to trust -- have another trick up there sleeve?
Well, they didn't help him and his sister get his shit back and now they're seemingly running people over.
What the fuck else can they be up to?!
That's when he ended up bringing up some other shit that's been mentioned in Mexico City recently.
The Lost Phone Scam of the Mexican Police
While Andres enjoyed my story I gave him of being robbed by the police before as I wrote about here, he tossed a story back at me that he's heard about these days.
Nothing he's had personal experience with but just shit you hear from others about scams out there happening.
Similar to the theme here, this one involving the police also as you can guess by now.
So let's cut the foreplay -- what's the new scam to watch out for in 2022 (and maybe in the future)?
There was some story he heard recently of a type of scam where the police or personnel from the Public Ministry will try to set someone up for stealing a phone.
Basically, they'll take a nice looking phone (an iphone or whatever) and place it next to your car.
Most often happening near shopping centers, supermarkets and banks where lots of cars are parking all the time obviously.
Then they'll hope that someone picks up the phone and drives off.
Afterwards, the police will use GPS to find the person soon after and take them to the Public Ministry.
At this point, they'll supposedly have some random person standing by who is working with the scam to accuse you of assaulting him and robbing him.
At this point, they'll ask you for maybe a 100,000 pesos (5000 bucks) or more depending on the moment.
If you pay, they will drop the denunciation and not prosecute you.
At any rate, since Andres didn't have much experience with this personally, the information ends up there.
He only said that he heard about it from a friend living in the ECATEPEC of Mexico.
So, out of curiosity, I decided to follow up and see if I can find any examples of this online.
Examples of the Police Phone Scam
Similar to Andres, I don't have much experience with this personally.
So I can only report what I find online.
Based on what I'm reading, it seems to be more of a common scam in the areas surrounding Mexico City in ECATEPEC and all.
Not as common in Mexico City it seems.
And, for those even more curious who read Spanish, I found some articles on the subject here.
At any rate, that's all I got to say.
Simply nothing more than to warn anyone of coming to Mexico to not be picking up random phones you see on the street.
Even if you plan on turning it in out of good faith, it doesn't sound like a good idea.
While I'm sure the scam is not likely to happen to you (how many people could they be hitting each day), I'd just not risk it.
It reminds me of a similar incident when I was went on a trip to Latin America years ago and I found a random debit card left at the ATM machine.
I decided to turn it in and immediately I was accused or suspected anyway by the authorities of using it to steal cash.
Though, unlike the mentioned scam with the phones in Mexico, they didn't try taking me anywhere or demanding I pay a big bribe to not be charged with theft.
They just seemed overly concerned that I wouldn't be a good citizen to just turn something in and not steal.
Which, as I think about it, is typical of Latin America.
Society down here tends to be very low-trust compared to back home and people have a harder time believing that you aren't trying to fuck them over somehow.
People here tend to have more of an eye always watching for potential scams or being fucked over somehow.
Though, having said that, there are some VERY dumb scams that Mexicans and other nationalities fall for like I wrote about here that make you scratch your head and go "huh? How retarded were you to fall for that?"
Anyway, going back to the original theme of the article: You see a phone on the street. Should you pick it up to turn it in?
Even if you have good intentions, all I can say it is a risk that you could be scammed somehow or at least suspected of being a thief as not everyone is so trusting down here.
But, like I said, I don't think your risk of being caught in a scam is too high (unless the phone is literally placed conveniently next to your car in a parking lot in the State of Mexico, then worry I guess).
Anyway, it's your call anyway if you wish to pick up the phone or not.
I'd just leave it alone.
Above all, it's a new type of scam to look out for.
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