My day was all planned when we received a phone call from my brother in law (furthur listed as "BIL") saying he was going to the airport to pick up a cousin of my husband's who was coming in from Costa Rica. Not many people come from Costa Rica to the US to visit, at least not my husband's family. Unless you own a business or have money, it is expensive for most to make this trip. Of course, my husband's family has been offered (by us) to have a plane ticket paid for so they can come to the US. Long story short, none of them have been able to come, yet anyway.

When I first learned the cousin was coming, I asked my husband why were we just learning this, so last minute? We pawned it off as not being unusual, and were grateful to be informed of his arrival. My BIL asked if my husband wanted to go with him to the airport to pick up the cousin. My husband explained the grandson had a baseball game and we would go over to his house after.

The more I thought about it, the more excited I got. I started thinking how I could re-arrange my schedule. Even though this was a cousin and not a brother or sister, it was exciting to know someone in the family was coming! I cancelled a couple of things and worked it out. I made sure my camera batteries were charged. I needed to get photos of this cousin in California with the family! 

I was uncertain if I had met this cousin before. I thought I had, but the way it was described to me, maybe I hadn't. I understood this was my husband's mother's brother's son. He owns a business in the Mercado. We have been to the business several times but I think it has been years since we have actually seen him there, if at all. I remember my husband's uncle, he was a character! He was the type that would get into trouble and come out smelling like a rose. His son? I didn't know anything about him, other than he owned the store. Time to learn! He was coming to California!

I met my husband at the game, excited to go to his brother's afterwards. After an inning or two my husband informs me he had talked with his brother again while he was on his way to the game. he says to me, "The whole thing was a fraud!" 

What do you mean? Nah, not true, I said. What was he talking about? Fraud, really? I can't believe it... I am ready to meet and greet this cousin, and take pictures too!

But it was. A SCAM. A stinking SCAM.

Here is how I understand this went down~ 

A man called my BIL saying he was "cousin's name" and he was in Tijuana. (Keep in mind, this whole conversation is in Spanish.) He said he was coming to the United States to buy some things for his store. He said the Mexican Federales had him in custody because he had "x amount of cash" on him and they wanted to make sure he wasn't a drug dealer. (It all sounds sooo legit!)

A bit later the "Mexican Federales" called my BIL, stating who they were and asked if he knew the cousin. They said they would use some of the money to release the cousin from being held but they would not give the rest of the money back to him. They wanted to send it to my BIL, at some bank or something. This is where we don't really understand. My BIL would never give out any personal information about his bank. I am guessing he said something that "postponed relating info about the bank."

My BIL had been given the time of arrival at the airport of this cousin, which was several hours later in the day. My BIL and his wife started talking about everything including the money situation and decided to call Costa Rica. That is when they found out the whole thing was a SCAM

The cousin is fine and still in Costa Rica. Pura Vida!

These scammers had the cousin's name, knew he owned a store and had a cousin in the US. Thankfully, as good as their scam was all planned out, they weren't able to cash in on it! 

I planned to write a blog post about our exciting meeting today and share photos, but this is what you got instead, and without photos. Be wary at all times everyone!

If my BIL hadn't called Costa Rica I believe my he would STILL be sitting at the airport waiting for his cousin.

Thanks for stopping by! 

Wishing you success in all of your genealogical treasure hunts! 

 Copyright © 2013 Cheryl Palmer All Rights Reserved


  1. Wow! I've been nervous several times when meeting people who claimed to be relatives but they've all turned out well. Thankfully yours went no further than the airport....sheesh!

  2. Wow Cheryl . . . I would have never thought! Your BIL was very smart to call Costa Rica and I am so so glad everyone is okay and that he didn't give out any info . . . wow is all I can say and that we all need to be so so careful.

  3. Wow, it could have been so much worse.

  4. I am always so nervous when meeting new cousins. I've probably scared off a few just because I seem so on edge about it. This makes me feel like I am right to be careful!
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. Cheryl,

    So sorry this happened to you! How terrible!

    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at

    Have a great weekend!


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