Abilene police issue warning about 'influx' of Romanian scammers


Abilene police issued a warning Wednesday of "an influx" of Romanian-born Nationals (Roma-Gypsy) who are using "various illegal methods" in numerous states to scam money from businesses and people.

The culprits have "hit many other Texas cities and are suspected to live in larger cities, like the Metroplex, and branch out into smaller cities like Abilene where they perform their scams in traveling groups," the Abilene Police Department said.

"This organized crime ring has worked in 20 states including Texas," APD spokesman Rick Tomlin said in a news release.

Police identified three Romanian Nationals - in November 2015 - who allegedly placed a skimmer device in a bank ATM machine. They, in doing so, gained access to financial information of "hundreds" of First Financial Bank customers and stole "thousands" from First Financial Bank.

Members of the organization are also suspects in a number of home repair scams. Police say they go door-to-door and promise work to the homeowners. They ask for money up-front and never follow through with "any work," APD said.

"They have promised to remove squirrels/rodents from the attic, or some type of home repair, to scam money from homeowners," police said.

According to police, members of the organization target the elderly.

"If you have a loved one, educate them on not accepting any work from anyone coming to their door soliciting work without the required soliciting permit from the City (of Abilene)," police said.

The culprits have also been known to "specifically target Walmart and its customers," using children to "garner trust" from their targets "in hopes of scamming more money from individuals."

The Better Business Bureau has a free brochure for homeowners that talks about how to deal with Door-to-Door solicitors.

CLICK HERE to download.

"Anyone who solicits door to door inside the city limits of Abilene is required to have a permit," said John Riggins, President and CEO of BBB. 'We want home owners to know about this law and the provisions and protections it affords."

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