Police Say Keep An Eye Out For Holiday Scams

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POSTED: Tuesday, November 27, 2012 - 6:33pm

UPDATED: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 - 9:43am

WESLACO - Juanita Acevedo, 84, fell victim to a scam earlier this month. Two women came knocking on her door on East Plaza Street, asking for water and the use of her restroom.

"They did not seem like they had bad intentions," said Acevedo.

But they did have bad intentions. The two ladies pulled what police call a diversion scam. While one kept Acevedo occupied with conversation, the other, instead of using the restroom, stole some of Acevedo's belongings.

"This is the time of year, unfortunately, when many cases will pick up," said Officer JP Rodriguez, Weslaco Police Department.

Diversion scams, charity scams, online shopping scams... the list goes on and on. Being ready for all of them can be tough, especially when some scams even come knocking at your door.

Make sure if people come to your door to not let them inside.  Even if the individual claims to be with a charity or non-profit organization. Police said to make sure to verify or check their credibility first. 

To check a person's credibility ask to see their badge or business card. Then call the number on the card. Or if these aren't possible, give local police a ring and see if they believe the person to be legitimate.

Another popular scam on the border is the family in distress scam. This happens when caller claims to be a family member in need of help in Mexico... police urge residents to beware of this. Check with other family members to verify the person's whereabouts before sending money in any form.

"They are going to look for somebody who might not necessarily research the information. And more than likely just send money off. Or do what is being asked of them," said Officer Rodriguez.

Many times the elderly, like Acevedo are targets. But after this experience, Acevedo said she won't be so welcoming.

"I won't let this happen again, because if it can happen one, it can happen twice," said Acevedo.

Acevedo warned her neighbors too. She said if unknown people come knocking again, even though she wants to be nice, she will kindly turn those strangers away.

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