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Minority Groups targeted in money swindle scams

HPD warns of scam attempting to swindle money over the phone.

It’s no coincidence that these scams come during tax season.

The caller tries to convince people that money is owed.

Officer Eric Mehl is with the Houston Police Department’s Major Offenders Division.

“They’ll give them their spiel, and they’ll say if you don’t pay us money within an hour or two, we’re going to send an officer to your house. We’re going to arrest you. And they also go the further step of scaring them by saying, ‘If you are an immigrant to this country, we’ll then deport you.”

Another scam that involves law enforcement:

“They will say that somehow you have an outstanding warrant. That warrant is usually for failure to show up for jury duty or a grand jury appearance, and they’re calling and saying that they have the warrant. They of course, threaten them with arrest and further deportation, if it gets that far.”

Alice Lee, a member of the Greater Sharpstown Management District, says she received a call from a man claiming to be from the Sheriff’s Office warrants division. He told her she needed to pay a fine for missing a court date.

“He said I had a fine of $325 for failure to appear in court. The warrant was for $150, the court fees were $125, and then a processing fee of $175.50. So that total was $776 and 50 cents … I needed to pay to these cards I can get at Walmart.”

Officer Mehl says to be suspicious of anything legitimate being conducted over the phone.

“If it’s the IRS, they will mail you a letter. They never call you. If it’s the police, and you have a valid warrant out, we show up and take you.”

He says if you are a victim to any scam involving the loss of money, you’re advised to call the Houston Police Department at (713) 308-3100.

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