(Yuma, AZ – January 17, 2013) Throughout the year, Better Business Bureau (BBB) reports on scams targeting various groups ranging from seniors to business owners to college students. In Arizona, a particular group targeted is Hispanics, who fall victim to scams sometimes, due to a language barrier or lack of resources. BBB shares common scams that targeted Hispanics in Arizona in 2012.
“As we build awareness about the resources available to avoid scams, particularly within the Hispanic community, we hope more consumers will not only take steps to recognize and avoid scams, but also report incidents,” said Myriam Cruz, Community Relations Specialist for BBB.
BBB shares common scams targeting Arizona Hispanics in 2012. According to consumers, the following scams occur in Spanish:
Immigration Services Scams: Taking advantage of the DREAM Act announcement and the changes to Arizona’s immigration laws, scammers who posed as licensed attorneys and immigration service providers charged upfront fees and made false promises. Consumers who fell for unauthorized immigration services not only lost thousands of dollars, but also provided personal information that could lead to identity theft.
Collect (or Cash) on Delivery (COD) Scams: Using COD services, scam artists tricked consumers into paying for products they did not order. One of the scams involved a cold call from someone selling clothing at wholesale. After consumers heard the enticing sales pitch and accepted the offer, they were instructed to pay with a money order at the time of delivery. When items were delivered and paid through COD services, the consumer discovered the items were not the ones promised. In some cases, when the consumer called to complain, they received an apology for the error. They were then told a new package would be mailed immediately along with a refund check and that all they had to do was pay for the new package since the refund check would be included. The consumer paid the COD service again only to find out the package did not include a refund check nor the merchandise initially ordered.
Emergency Call Scams: Similar to the popular grandparent scam, scammers called consumers posing as police officers, federal agents, or airport staff stating a relative was being detained and they needed to pay a fine to be released. In one scenario, the consumer received a call from someone posing as an airport staffer stating a relative had not declared items in their luggage and needed to pay a fee in order for the items to be released. The scammers even went so far as to put someone on the phone to act as the relative. Feeling a sense of urgency, the consumer wired the money to the unknown caller thinking they were helping a relative only to later find out their family member was safe at home.
Consumer Resources: • For more consumer and business scam alerts in Spanish, visit www.arizona.bbb.org/espanol or “Like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/azbbbespanol.
• To file an official complaint with BBB, visit www.bbb.org/complain.
• To file an official complaint with the Arizona Attorney General, visit www.azag.gov.