Latinos lose their cars victims of scam

Orange County authorities this week asked the community, mainly Latinos, to be cautious in case they see an advertisement on social networks offering them money in exchange for lending their vehicle.

Along with this call, they announced that at least 50 people have been scammed under this modality.

The mode of operation is as follows: through social networks, such as the Facebook Marketplace, or the Craigslist website, ads are placed where payment is offered to those who have a car and can lend it since the advertiser —in reality, a scammer— need is to transport large amounts of money.

The robbery scheme consists of the victim taking his car to a place where he is going to meet the alleged person who needs the service, who then asks the owner of the car to wait while he goes to a ‘secret place’ to load the car with the money. He promises her that when he returns he will earn $5,000 just for letting her use his vehicle.

The problem is that the vehicle never comes back.

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said members of the Latino community are targeted by these scammers, specifically because many fear going to authorities to report the theft.

He adds that sometimes they are afraid that they are going to be implicated in some criminal enterprise or even think that they will have problems with deportation.

“Many people depend on a single vehicle to transport their entire family to work and school, and having that vehicle stolen from them is devastating,” Spitzer said.

“We will not allow these predators to continue targeting vulnerable victims just to make a quick buck.”

Orange County Regional Auto Theft Task Force
(OCATT) has investigated more than 50 such cases that have occurred in cities across Orange County since July 2021.

Tustin Police Department Chief Stu Greenberg said that through collaboration with Orange County law enforcement, his department has worked to limit the impact of these crimes on the Latino community.

“We will continue to fully investigate any type of crime reported to our law enforcement officers as we seek to identify and arrest all individuals operating under this false pretense,” he said.

“These criminals prey on those who may be struggling financially through get-rich-quick advertising schemes,” said Sheriff’s Chief Don Barnes.

“The Sheriff’s Department and our regional law enforcement partners are working to educate our communities about these criminal enterprises and how to protect themselves. Do not fall prey to these criminals.”

Sgt. Ryan Anderson of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department told CBS2 that thieves often steal SUVs, trucks and other high-demand cars like Hondas or Toyotas.

“People need to be aware that if there are any red flags or doubts that pop into your mind, or if it just doesn’t make sense to be asked to do things that seem a bit risky to you, you’re probably on the right track.” Anderson said. “Don’t trust them.”

For anonymous tips call or write OC Crime Stoppers at 1(855) – 847-6227 or visit: