The woman lost the last 100 dollars after connecting it to a crook who claimed they kidnapped her cousin – CBS Chicago

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Chicago (CBS) — Suppose you receive a call saying that a drug cartel has kidnapped your cousin—in order to save her, you need to send money right away.

what would you do?

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This is actually a terrible scam that cost Chicago women a huge price. Tim McNicholas of CBS 2 solved what happened.

Helping his family is second nature to Helen Presley.

“I am my grandmother’s home care assistant,” Presley said.

Therefore, when she received a call saying that her cousin had been kidnapped, she suspended cleaning work at her grandma’s house.

“They said:’Don’t call other people. Don’t do anything, because if you do, we will assault and sexually assault your cousin,'” Presley said.

A man told Presley to go to the nearest Western Union transfer and transfer thousands of dollars to someone in Mexico where he called the cartel. But Presley only works part-time and doesn’t have a few thousand dollars.

“I was totally frightened,” Presley said. “Apart from following their instructions, I don’t know what to do because I don’t want her to be harmed.”

So instead, she sent her last 100 dollars. The money was used to repair the damage to her car caused by a recent storm.

She sat in the same car and waited for the kidnapper to send her cousin to Walgreens. They never did—because they didn’t have her cousin in the first place.

Presley said: “I waited about an hour before calling my cousin-she said she was fine.” “So I realized it was a scam.”

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Then she contacted Western Union and learned that she could not get a refund.

“It’s heartbreaking, but it’s not surprising,” said Teresa Murray, the consumer watchdog of the US Public Interest Research Group.

McNicholas asked Murray what we can tell people to avoid such scams.

“Never, never, never use gift cards, wire transfers, bitcoins or similar things to pay people who call you,” Murray said.

But the water here became muddy.

Presley said the call was very convincing because when she answered the phone for the first time, she thought she was talking to her cousin. Before the man answered the phone, she heard a woman with a similar voice, and she even knew the name of her cousin.

“They also have my phone number, so it feels like someone who might know me or know my family,” Presley said.

This was an idea she couldn’t erase from her mind.

Our experts tell us that if you receive such a call, just hang up and call your family directly.

We asked Western Union to comment, but they never did.

more news: Chicago Weather: The first snow of the season will arrive on Friday

On its website, the currency giant outlines more than 20 scams and provides a quiz to help you avoid this type of fraud.

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