Supreme Court email, phone scam targets immigrants

TAMPA, Fla. - A new scam is surfacing, one that Tampa Bay residents should be aware of.

It could take victims for thousands, simply by answering a phone call.

“They are taking advantage of immigrant communities,” Craig Water, with the Florida Supreme Court said.

Get a ring from the Florida Supreme Court and you should be skeptical. Scammers are scaring Spanish speaking immigrants into forking over money. The callers insist their family or members of the family are in legal trouble like kidnapping, sex trafficking or drugs.

“The scammers have asked for as much as $1,600 in order to make these fictitious cases go away,” Waters said.

Victims who have answered the calls are mostly from Miami, and say the same phone number as the Florida Supreme Court came up on caller-ID. Craig Waters say this is called a spoof.

“The real danger is that people actually wire money and of course after you wire money to somebody it's gone you can't really get it back,” Waters said.

The one thing to do if you receive a phone call like this, hang up.

“A Florida court is not going to contact you and say you have a court appearance in a few days or you have to send us money. We don't do it that way,” Waters said.

Anyone receiving similar emails or phone calls should not give out any sensitive personal information and may wish to report them to law enforcement or the Florida Attorney General’s Office. 

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