'You owe us money:' Cartel text scam featuring graphic photos threatens Raleigh family

Diane Wilson Image
Friday, November 6, 2020
'You owe us money:' Cartel text scam featuring graphic photos threatens Raleigh family
The scam features text messages of mutilated bodies, followed by threats to attack family members with their addresses included.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- A new text scam left a Raleigh man terrified after he received texts that claimed to be from the cartel threatening his family with personal information and extremely graphic photos.

Logan, who asked ABC11 to use only his first name, got the startling text at 1 a.m.

"Started off with my name, my address and then the texts got threatening," Logan said. "'You owe us money for wasting the cartel's time of $1500. This is what happens to people who waste the cartel's time and money.'"

The next text messages were very graphic pictures of a decapitated man with his hands cut off. After the pictures, Logan immediately got more text messages.

"'If you want to get your family involved in this and not pay, this is what will happen to your family members,'" Logan read. More graphic pictures followed, and then a text message with a list of Logan's family members and their addresses. Another text said they had men sitting outside Logan's house if he didn't pay up.

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Logan blocked the number, and he called the police who confirmed this is a new scam hitting the area. In fact, people around the country have reported this scam to authorities as scammers try to use fear to get their targets to pay up. If you fall for the scam, the scammers will send payment instructions on how to pay either with a prepaid debit card, gift cards, or wire the money.

Logan didn't lose any money, but said he wanted to warn others.

The FBI issued a warning about these texting scams that can also be done through phone calls or emails. These scams are also known as "virtual kidnapping scams." The best advice is to not give these scammers any information.

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If you are contacted, do not engage in communication back and forth, instead, call authorities.