Murfreesboro Police warn residents about extortion phone scam

Posted at 7:15 PM, Jul 03, 2022

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (WTVF) — Murfreesboro Police Department's Criminal Investigations Division (CID) fraud detectives are warning residents about a phone scam in which callers are claiming to be from Mexican cartels and threatening harm.

The scammers typically call or send text messages with gruesome photos of dismembered body parts to frighten residents into sending money. The messages are mostly all written in Spanish.

“We have no reason to believe that the callers are actually associated with any known cartel,” said CID Sergeant/Detective Sean Garrison. “However, they are causing fear with their fraud attempts.”

The callers threaten that they will harm or kill residents and their families if the victims do not send money through banking apps, gift cards or other forms of nontraceable transfers.

“This is not a new scam,” Garrison said. “But it is the first time we have seen it locally.”

So far, at least four residents have been known targets. Three of them did not pay up.

One man was intimidated into sending $1,000 of the $3,000 he was asked to pay. After the caller attempted to convince him to wire transfer more money, he called the police.

As a precaution, police have placed a special watch on the homes of the four victims who have filed police reports.

Police advise that if you receive a call from someone claiming to be with a Mexican cartel and demanding money: don't panic. Hang up and block the number, do not reply to the threatening text messages, and call the police.

Anyone with information about these fraud scams is encouraged to contact CID Fraud Division at 615-893-2717.