San Benito Retiree Falls Victim to Calling Scheme

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SAN BENITO – A Rio Grande Valley man is out hundreds of dollars after falling victim to a scheme.

Alfonso Aguirre, a retiree, received a call with a number from Venezuela Saturday afternoon. He ended up talking to someone who was not who they claimed to be.

“I got a call from supposedly my wife’s nephew, coming from Houston. He was loaded with stuff that he wanted to give us. He said he had a trailer and that he was putting his trailer with a lot of presents for us,” he said.

And about an hour later, the alleged nephew called back.

“He (said), ‘I had an accident, I had an accident, I hit somebody, and there’s a little girl that got hurt and I gotta take her to the hospital. I also need about $700 to make an agreement with the man that I hit,’” Aguirre recalled.

The caller asked that Aguirre wire him the money to Guadalajara, Mexico. He sent the funds by Western Union. Then, an hour later the caller asked Aguirre to send another $500 to fix his car’s transmission.

However, Aguirre said that time he did not fall for it.

“That’s when I asked him for his mother’s name and she did ask him and he just hung up and that was it,” he said.

Aguirre called San Benito police, a group familiar with these types of cases.

“The majority of the people will not acknowledge the call, or just dismiss the call and notify us,” San Benito Police Chief Michael Galvan said. “Some people, good-hearted people, they react quickly. They’re concerned for their family. They will end up sending money to these people who are not who they say.”

Galvan said the criminals always put on a good show.

San Benito police will not be able to take on the case. It is out of the department’s jurisdiction. It would likely not be a federal case because the $700 lost is below the FBI threshold to investigate.

There are some steps people can take to keep themselves from falling victim to these schemes.

If a person receives a phone call from someone claiming to be a family member who needs money, the San Benito police recommends that people ask the caller personal questions.

And people should always report the incident to their local police department.


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