United States

Deportation Scam Spikes Fears in Immigrant Community

As if there wasn't enough fallout from the immigration fears brought on by the Trump administration, scammers are now trying to get money out of victims by threatening deportation, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office.

In fact, some people already have been scammed.

More and more people have been filing into the Mexican Consulate in San Jose to report scams, and both the DA’s office and the consulate are investigating.

Victims of the scam say someone will claim to be calling from the Mexican Consulate to tell them they are on a deportation list. Then the scammer offers to get them off the list for a few thousand dollars.

The consulate says there are no such deportation lists.

"From time to time, we give advice to people," says Mauricio Toussaint, Mexican consul general. "Don’t be defrauded. Don’t buy those lies."

The latest scam and other similar deportation trickery has had the consulate, as well as the DA's office, trying to ease rattled nerves since the November elections.

"These are just scammers taking advantage of that fear," says Josue Fuentes, deputy district attorney.

The DA's office says some people have paid the scammers by wiring money or releasing their debit card numbers.

"We’ve seen an uptick in these telephone scams where they’re calling from the consulate or claiming to call from ICE themselves,' Fuentes said.

When a U.S. government agency is demanding payment, they do it via mail and never ask for a debit card number or for money to be wired, the DA's office says.

To avoid being scammed, the DA's office advises people to ask for a name and call-back number. That makes it easier to catch the crooks.

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