Important information to take into account: Jorge Quispe reports for La Razon:
New form of scam reported by phone
Susana Chávez will never forget the morning of September 24. That day, the elderly woman, received a telephone call at 10.30, from Mexico, which in a couple of seconds collapsed her.
“Are you the Lady Susana Chávez?, the sister-in-law of Miguel Flores, who lives in La Paz?”, asked a Mexican accent voice from the other side of the telephone line. Susana responded positively. “Well, Madam Chávez, Miguel has been arrested in the customs of Mexico for trying to enter illegal merchandise and failing to do a deposit of $1,500 dollars in the next two hours, he will be sent to prison in the Federal District”, the man identified himself as Carlos Ochoa, an alleged police commander. [Mrs] Chavez is desperate, didn’t know what to do, and only managed to ask a question about the number of the account to which had to make the deposit. Ochoa gave the number and the name of the person that should receive the deposit. Three hours later, Ochoa called again. “Well, Madam Chávez, to release the merchandise Miguel must pay a $1,500 fine.” Susana made a second deposit. At the end of the afternoon, Chávez was still concerned at her home and when the phone rang again hesitated to answer, but then rose again the handset.
“How it is, Madam Chávez, call you from Mexico again.” “I inform you that we can not release Miguel Flores, because we found on his computer that he made an economic movement of $60,000 and he should pay taxes in Mexico, because that is a crime.”
Susana was paralyzed. Ochoa gave another account number and the name of the person who should receive the deposit and hung up the phone. Chavez went to leave the next day another $2,000 to an agency that sends money in the city of La Paz.
In less than 24 hours, Chavez deposited $5,000 to help his brother-in-law Miguel, who, however, had never left Venezuela, where he lives over five years ago. Chavez was scammed by phone.
The new trick of criminals has managed to defraud seven people in La Paz, according to official reports of the Interpol in the past ten months.
Criminals are supposedly calling from Mexico, France, South Africa, United States, China and other countries, to ask for money inventing accidents, arrests and other troubles of the Bolivian relatives living outside the country.
“So far seven cases arose in 2012.” “First, the complaint reaches the special force of fight against crime (FELCC) and then they pass on to us,” tells the Colonel Alex Rios of the departmental Directorate of the international police (Interpol).
Rios handled many hypotheses on how criminals find out phones, address and other details of persons who then call from outside the country. He believes that criminals use social networks (Facebook) for information and that the calls would come from prisons.
The last reported case was precisely the Susana Chávez, who received the call on September 24 from Mexico.
Other facts about more victims
Among the seven cases, there are even people who came to make a total deposit of $7,000.
The criminals manage different accounts, which then requested deposits be sent to.
Interpol recommended to verify the information
If you have a family member who lives outside the country and receive a call informing about an accident, economic trouble, arrests and other troubles that would have involved your family, contact them immediately to confirm the data, recommended the police.
“We must alert society to not suffer these hoaxes;” for this reason, if called from outside of the country. “They should be confirmed immediately and verify the information before making any money payments,” warns Colonel Alex Ríos, of the departmental direction of Interpol in La Paz.
On the subject, in the Authority’s oversight of the financial system (Asfi) reported yesterday that after Interpol put them aware of this new modus operandi of criminals making two and a half months sent a circular letter to all entities of the country financial intermediation to always consult citizens: the origin and destination of the money that is deposited or withdrawn.
New phone scammers open accounts where their victims make deposits from Bolivia to other countries.
What to do if called?
If they ever call you from abroad, informing that your family is in trouble, retained in the police, or something similar, verify the information with other family members first and foremost, advised Colonel Alex Ríos, of the departmental direction of the Interpol La Paz.
I’d say to be extremely careful on what information YOU share over the internet… social networks can become a nuisance… and make you vulnerable to this and other types of scams, blackmail and sometimes your reputation may suffer irreparable damage.