Mexican Inmates Accused of Telephone Fraud in US

4/10/2017 New York Times

using smartphoneMEXICO CITY — Inmates at a Mexican prison made extortion telephone calls to Mexicans living in several U.S. cities, often claiming to be relatives, prosecutors said Monday.

Jalisco state prosecutor Eduardo Almaguer said the fraudulent phone calls targeted Mexicans living in Los Angeles, Miami, Chicago and cities in Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee and elsewhere.

Almaguer said a group of about 10 inmates made the calls using prohibited cellphones.

There is a technique used in Mexico to make fake kidnap calls in which a muffled or indistinct cry for help convinces some people that a relative is in danger. A voice then demands that money be sent or transferred. The calls often come from inside prisons and while many hang up or report the “virtual kidnappings” some people fall for them. Family members or confederates outside the prison can collect the transferred money.

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