Monday 11 February 2013

Jalisco police put out alert on phone extortions for communities south of Chapala

Given a recent increase in phone extortions, the South Regional Delegation of the Attorney General of the State of Jalisco (Delegación Regional Sur de la Procuraduría General de Justicia del Estado de Jalisco) has put out a new warning to the public for communities to the south and west of Chapala.

The north shore of Lake Chapala

Active areas, according to authorities, are Ciudad Guzmán, Sayula, Zacoalco de Torres, Zapotiltic (directly outside of Ciudad Guzmán), Tapalpa (south west of Chapala), among others in southern Jalisco.

The ruse involves cold calls to people telling them that family members have been kidnapped, and then an attempt to extort money for their “release”. It is an old trick, but carries weight in Mexico, which has the highest kidnapping rate in the world.

Authorities advise that the easiest way to avoid the problem is simply not to answer calls from unknown numbers. If a call is received, remain calm, hang up, and report the matter to the authorities. Showing any sign that you are being swayed by the trick could only lead to more harassment.

Specific recommendations offered by the authorities are:

• Do not give out personal information over the phone to anyone, even if you think you recognize the voice.
• Beware that some tricksters claim you have won an “award”, but that it requires that you buy them phone cards. Note that Interior Ministry (Secretaría de Gobernación) does not involve itself in sweepstakes or gambling.

• Do not leave your name or surname on voicemail, and do not answer with your name.

• Make sure you know the school/work addresses and phone numbers of your family.

• Request that your family not to turn off their phones.

• Ask members of your family for the numbers of their friends, and where they are located.

• And whatever you do: do not pay or deposit any funds into accounts held by the criminals!

For any emergency or concerns contact the Delegation of the Attorney General of the State of Jalisco and / or Municipal Public Security Bureau by dialing (341) 41 278 30 (341) 41 364 57.

(TE Wilson is the author of Mezcalero, a Detective Sánchez novel.)

Twitter: @TimothyEWilson
Email: lapoliticaeslapolitica [at] gmail [dot] com

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