(HOUSTON) — The Houston Police Department wants immigrants to be aware that they’re being targeted by scammers.

The scammers are calling local immigrants and claiming they’re from the IRS or another government agency like a police department. They tell the victims they need to pay a fine for some imaginary wrongdoing.

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HPD Ofc. Eric Mehl has a warning to those who receive the calls.

“Talk to them; try to get the information you can but don’t given out your information,” he said. “If they are who they say they are, they are going to know your information already. They are not going to pump you for social security number, name, phone number, stuff like that.”


The scammers will tell victims to buy a cash card and then provide them the number and pin for the card.

“They ask that they buy a prepaid debit card at a Walgreens, CVS, Walmart, something like that,” Mehl said. “They will call them back and ask for the PIN number on the back of the card.”

Then, the money is transferred to the scammer with no record of who received the payment.

Police said legal immigrants are targeted because they often come from countries where they can’t trust the police, and they fear deportation from this country. The people who are targeted are almost always legal citizens of the United States.

People who feel they are being victimized are asked to call HPD.

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