As Highland Park and neighboring Highwood communities are working to heal after the mass shooting at a July 4 parade, some Latino residents are being targeted for scam calls.
Those affected have said that scammers are calling them pretending to be from the Mexican consulate or offering legal assistance.
Esteban Carbajal, senior staff attorney with the North Suburban Legal Aid Clinic, said sometimes scammers offer to help with the application process for U visas, which are intended for victims of certain types of crimes. They give individuals lawful status for four years, work authorization and the eligibility to apply for permanent citizenship after three years. Some of the scam calls claim that they can expedite a case, however Carbajal said the reality is that there’s about a six year backlog.
“It’s very frustrating to these individuals that are still processing what happened to them and still trying to heal and get back to some semblance of normalcy,” Carbajal said.
Diana Alvey, case manager at the Highwood Public Library & Community Center, recommends reaching out to a trusted source if they are unsure about whether or not the call they’re getting is spam. Recently a bilingual resource center has opened up for residents to speak with case managers on not only what to do about these calls, but also crisis counseling or financial assistance.
Residents can make an appointment for one of these services and more at 211lakecounty.org or call 888-277-9332 from 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Mon. through Fri.