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Immigrant families becoming victims of scammers

(Source: File Video)

Immigrant families are now becoming the newest victim to scammers.

"I think that's very disgraceful. I think these people have no morals, no values and we should prosecute them to the full extent of the law," said Attorney Alex Martinez.

Martinez is a local immigration attorney in McAllen who specializes in immigration and says he's noticed a recent influx in people taking advantage of undocumented immigrants and their families.

"It's extremely common. Unfortunately, I see it every single day," said Martinez, who has noticed one of the most common ways they're being targeted is by being offered fake immigration services.

"There's a whole variety of people that are offering immigration services and are not trained to do so or are completely making up these services to take money away from these poor families that are simply looking for a little bit of help," said Martinez.

Fake lawyers aren’t the only way immigrants are being scammed.

"They had received unsolicited phone calls from people stating they were DHS, ICE, or Border Patrol requesting money be sent or wired to them for services like bus tickets or other services like that," said Supervisory Border Patrol Agent Patrick Reilly and Deputy Section Chief of Strategic Communications Joint Task Force- West, South Texas Corridor.

Border Patrol Agents are also warning about the increase of calls asking for cash to provide some sort of benefit to their immigrant family member like fees for bus tickets, food or blankets while their loved one is in a processing or detention center.

Agents say no Federal Government Agency will ever ask for money and the only time they make contact with family members is to give them a chance to speak with their loved one.

"The only time would be during processing. The agent often times will make a phone call to a family member. The agent will speak briefly to the family then they'll give the phone over to the individual whom their family was called," said Reilly.

If such calls are received, people should decline to wire any funds, make a note of the number and any other pertinent details about the call and report the incident to the authorities for investigation, as well as to their appertaining consulate.

You can report suspicious activity to the Rio Grande Valley Operations Center at 800-863-9382, its new international number at 001-880-863-9382 and through the WhatsApp messaging service at 1-956-295-0887.

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