Scam targets immigrants, threatening deportation

Posted: Updated:
RIVERHEAD -

An immigrant in Suffolk County says he was scammed out of thousands of dollars by people pretending to be immigration officers and threatening deportation.

The man, who News 12 is not identifying, says he’s in the country illegally from Guatemala and living in Riverhead. He says he was scammed out of $3,300 and thought he was paying for airline flights for his wife and 3-year-old son who were being held at an immigrant detention center in Texas.

The man says he’s been trying to get his wife and child to Long Island and that he was told to wire the money into a bank account to pay for the flights.

He was too afraid to call police but sought help from the North Fork Spanish Apostolate.

“People who are in a situation like his – which is you don’t know what the process that immigration uses and you want to have your family and to be together – will react fast and not think about first looking to see is this the way it should be done,” says Sister Margaret Smyth, of the North Fork Spanish Apostolate.

Police say never trust to anyone asking for money over the phone. As for the man from Riverhead, he is out of $3,300 - basically all his savings. The North Fork Spanish Apostolate paid for the flights for him to be reunited with his wife and son, though.

Go HERE to watch extended interviews on this story.

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