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Hold all calls!

31 March 2014

If you have a “foreign” name listed in the telephone directory, chances are good that eventually you’ll get a call from someone claiming you need to send them money.   From another site, discussing the always popular “this is your nephew you haven’t seen in years, and I’m stuck in Mexico and need 3000 pesos sent to me right away…”  was this story of the equally popular — though much scarier — “we have your children held hostage” scam.


For the last 18 years I have lived in Mexico City and one day several years ago I got the ” phone call “. Someone asked me to pay 15000.- pesos, or they would kill my son, who it seemed was screaming in the back ground with pain. I told the guy ” kill him ” and hung up the phone. He called back two minutes later, was actually kind of nice and explained that I was probably overcome by the news, but that they really needed the money to save his life ( my son was shouting in the back ground and screaming ” mom, mom, help me “), because his ” patron ” would sure kill him. ” You don’t want your child rotting by the side of the road with his head in a plastic bag ” he added and then started to give me instructions. I interrupted him and told him that he could do with my son whatever he wanted and hung up again ( with my heart wanting to jump out of my mouth ). They called a third time and when I almost screamed to ” kill the ***** bastard ” they hung up. The thing is, I am not married and never had any children……still I called the police, because I was really scared, because they had my phone number. The police told me that they generated my number at random. Even years later when the phone rings late, I worry a bit.

PS: Only weeks later did I realize that my ” son ” had a very juvenile voice. If I had had a son at a normal age he would have been maybe 35-40, plus; he was shouting in English and since I am German no son of mine would plead for his life in a foreign language. But I still was very scared.

imagesThe only scammers I’ve had were trying to claim I had a package for delivery… but didn’t seem to be able to answer the simple question, “what’s the address on the package”. As far as I can tell, most of these kinds of calls come from prisons (er… “Centers for Social Readaption”) and — while people do fall for them (and “virtual kidnapping” isn’t unknown) — I tend to see them as more a nuisance than anything else.

And, I have standing orders that should someone claim to kidnap me or mine, demand a payment to take me back. And a factura!.

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