Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 30
 
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
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LALDEF Suggests Vigilance as East Coast Phone Scam Targets Latino Immigrants

Dilshanie Perera

A telephone scam similar to one that swept through the area in 2007 has surfaced again in Monmouth County and upstate New York, according to Treasurer of the Latin American Legal Defense and Education Fund (LALDEF) Maria Juega.

The fraud targets Latino immigrants and is perpetrated by seeming telemarketers who say that residents have received an “educational grant” for mail-order study materials to learn English.

The victim is offered hundreds of dollars in financial aid for the English as a Second Language course, and is told they only have to pay a few hundred dollars for the class, which is said to be three to four times higher in price.

In 2007, the going rate for the course was said to be $500, as opposed to the “market price” of $1,800.

Victims are pressured into accepting the materials with a nothing-down installment payment schedule, and are asked for names and phone numbers of friends and relatives. If the target refuses or cancels the payment, coercive collection calls are made, and are accompanied by threats of being reported to immigration authorities.

LALDEF is currently looking into the cases reported in other parts of the east coast and urges residents to be aware of the scheme. They will “assist any victim of this scam to immediately stop the harassing calls and try to recover any payments made.” There is no charge for the services.

To report an incident, call (877) 452-5333 and leave a name and number, or stop by the LALDEF office any Saturday between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. in the basement of the Nassau Presbyterian Church at 61 Nassau Street. No appointments are necessary and meetings will be completely confidential.

Aviso Importante: Inmigrantes Latinos de nuestra región estén siendo víctimas de una campaña de tele marketing fraudulenta. En la primera llamada la víctima es felicitada por haber recibido una “beca educativa” de cientos de dólares para aprender inglés a través de un curso por correo. La víctima es convencida de pagar unos cientos de dólares en lugar del “precio de mercado” que aseguran es tres o cuatro veces més alto. Le ofrecen un plan de facilidades de pago con objeto de que la victima acepte recibir los materiales sin pago inicial ninguno. El vendedor también convence a la persona para que le de los nombres y teléfonos de familiares y amigos. Cuando los materiales llegan al domicilio de la víctima, si la persona no acepta recibirlos, o no efectúa los pagos, empieza a recibir llamadas intimidantes que incluyen amenazas de ser denunciados al servicio de inmigración. El Fondo Latinoamericano para la Defensa Legal y la Educación (LALDEF) le puede ayudar a parar las llamadas inmediatamente y a recobrar los pagos que haya efectuado. Si usted o algún conocido ha sido víctima de este engaño, llame a nuestro servicio de ayuda, (877) 452-5333 y deje su nombre y número de teléfono, o visítenos en nuestra oficina, cualquier sébado de 10 a.m. a 12 p.m., en el sótano de la Iglesia Presbiteriana en el 61 Nassau Street en Princeton. No hace falta cita. Se mantendré confidencialidad total. Nuestros servicios son completamente gratuitos.

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