Scammers using Fresno Yosemite International Airport in scheme

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Victims of fraud are showing up at Fresno Yosemite International Airport expecting to find detained relatives and now officials there are warning other residents not to fall for the same scam.

Vikkie Calderon said scammers are calling, pretending to be long lost relatives. "They're saying that they're being held by federal authorities and are in need of bail money or money to pay the taxes on the several thousands of dollars they are traveling with," she said.

It's already happened to two families just last week and Calderon fears it could happen to others. "When the family members arrive at the airport to pick up their relative they find that their relative is not at the airport possibly not even in the country," she said.

In the reported cases, investigators say the scammers had fake lawyers or airport officials tell them how to wire money. It's unclear how much money the thieves got away with but once cash is wired it's almost impossible to get back.

"I find that obviously wrong. There shouldn't be nobody making up stories of people being detained just to get a quick dollar out of it," said Ramon Medina of Fresno.

Calderon said if you get a phone call like this, always call the police to verify the validity of the situation. She said airport officials do not hold individuals in exchange for funds.

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