Phone scammers target Hispanics - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Phone scammers target Hispanics

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Telemarketers are trying a new tactic, specifically targeting Spanish-speaking victims.

Petry Urbina was targeted by a company that told her she was selected for a special offer on a English language course because she liked to watch a Spanish language channel.

She recalls. "The moment they mentioned they were from Univision… and Don Francisco, who is the show host, I felt comfortable I felt confident this was actually legit. I had no reason to doubt it was not."

She decided not to buy the course. But when she told them know, the telemarketers began to pressure her, so she bought the course.

Postal inspectors say they'll send the items whether you order them or not and demand payment.

Before the packages even arrive, customers are informed that new shipments are on the way.

Postal inspector Bryan Masmela says, "When the consumer told them they never ordered a package, the telemarketer would begin their threats… they would say if you don't accept the package and make payment then they would send the police to their house or call immigration authorities on them."

These scammers also sold electricity savers, vitamins and phony medical insurance.

Masmela says, "That was probably the worst of the lies that we saw… because these were people who were actually sick and they didn't have any health insurance."

Masmela says scammers even posed at doctors to fool the victims. "The telemarketer on the other phone posing as a doctor on the phone would ask them what their symptoms were and what their problems were and would tell them "Hey, I have there products you can purchase that will help you".

Investigators were tipped off by Spanish language channels when they learned  their names were being used without permission.

The owners of the firm were sentenced to 10 years in federal prison and ordered to pay $4 million is restitution.

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