Phone scammers claim to be a part of Mexican cartels to get cash

Scammer pretends to be a part of the cartel
Scammer pretends to be a part of the cartel(MPD)
Published: Jul. 2, 2022 at 12:17 PM CDT
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MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WSMV) - Police warned residents Friday of a recent phone scam from callers claiming to be from Mexican cartels and threatening harm to residents and their families.

Murfreesboro Police officials said the callers were representing themselves as members of different Mexican cartels and would typically call or send threatening text messages with horrific photos of dismembered body parts to scare residents into sending money or else they would be killed. The majority of the messages were reportedly written in Spanish.

“We have no reason to believe that the callers are actually associated with any known cartel,” said CID Sergeant/Detective Sean Garrison. “However, they are causing fear with their fraud attempts.”

The callers would ask residents to send money through banking apps, gift cards, or other forms of non-traceable transfers.

“This is not a new scam,” Garrison said. “But it is the first time we have seen it locally.”

So far, the scammers have reportedly targeted at least four Murfreesboro residents.

MPD said in one recent case, a local man was talking with a woman on the internet who began asking for money. When he refused, he received a text message from a man claiming to be with the CJNG cartel. The caller also told the man that he had wasted the woman’s time and threatened to kill him and his family if he did not send $3,000.

The victim told police he then received two additional calls from men also sending threats, one claiming to be with the Sinaloa cartel. Out of fear for himself and his family, the victim sent $1,000 through a banking app. The caller attempted to convince the victim to wire additional transfer money, but he called the police instead.

MPD said three other victims filed police reports; however, they did not send the callers any money.

As a precaution, police have placed a special watch on the homes of the four victims.

If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be with a Mexican cartel and demanding money, you should consider the following:

  • Don’t panic
  • Hang up and block the phone number
  • Do not reply to the threatening text messages
  • Call police

Anyone with information about these fraud scams is encouraged to contact the CID Fraud Division at 615-893-2717.

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