A new text message scam has been circulating across the country. The scammers, who claim to be Mexican drug cartel members, threaten violence to the victim and their family members if a cash ransom is not paid. Utah police are warning residents, but telling them to stay calm.
Mexican cartels demand cash
The scammers are text messaging citizens with accurate personal information about them and their loved ones, often including family photos. Then they threaten violence if money is not sent to a certain bank account.
As you can imagine, these messages have alarmed many residents who suddenly believe they are being targeting by ruthless Mexican drug cartels. Police in one Utah city are warning its residents so they don’t fall victim to the scam.
“It can be scary receiving this text,” the Lone Peak Police Department posted on its facebook page. “This is being perpetrated from people outside the country in most cases and an empty threat used to extort money from people. If you receive this text do not engage in a conversation with the scammer and notify your local law enforcement agency.”
These days we have an incredible amount of personal information available online. A simple google search can provide a person’s full name, address and phone number. Social media accounts often reveal a person’s place of employment, family photos and much more.
This information is easily accessible to anyone who does a casual search. Skilled hackers can uncover much more. Investigations have led police to believe these scammers are living outside of the country, hoping to use fear in an effort to extort money from naive citizens. The threats are empty, but it’s always wise to remain vigilant and report any messages to police.
Mexican cartel violence
Mexican drug cartels have a notorious reputation for gruesome violence and extortion. Most of the cartel crime takes place in Mexico along the U.S. border, often spilling over into the United States. The crime wave caused by illegal immigrants from south of the border has become a hot button issue in the past five years. President Trump has vowed to build a bigger, better border wall along the Mexican border.
In a recent list of top 50 murder capitals of the world, Mexico holds the top five slots. The number one murder capital of the world is currently Tijuana, a city that shares a border with San Diego, California. Mexico goes on to dominate the list of murder capitals with a whopping 19 out of the 50 cities. No bueno. However, there is no evidence tying cartel members to this text message scam.