Loved ones of Ryu Barrientes are already dealing with unimaginable grief. The five-year-old died on Sunday, one day after he was found underwater in a pool at a Southside apartment complex.
Now, his family is dealing with more heartache after relatives say a scammer is trying to profit off of the tragedy.
Jessica Duran, Ryu’s aunt, said that she learned of a man who sold barbecue plates to a woman at a Stripes store on Port and Mary just one day after her nephew died. She said her family has no idea who the man is.
She and others now want to warn the public to not fall for the scam. Duran said is claiming to raise money on the family’s behalf is not telling the truth.
“He did it now. He’s going to try to do it again because for him, it’s a quick, easy dollar. It’s easy for him to get away with it. He didn’t care who he’s hurting,” Duran said.
The Better Business Bureau says this is a type of scam that it sees too often. Kelly Trevino of the BBB tells KRIS 6 News that it’s even harder to track down the perpetrators when they carry out these schemes in person.
She says in this situation, it’s best to ask plenty of questions to the people who are trying to get your money. If their answers don’t make sense, trust your instincts and hold on to your money.
Speaking about the types of questions to ask, Trevino said, “Who’s the aunt? The uncle? How do you know the family? Now, they can still lie but you have to verify before you give that money.
“Unfortunately, too many people are looking at the news for the latest scam.”
Duran said she will file a police report to try to get the alleged scammer arrested.
Meanwhile, the family is holding its own fundraiser. It will be this Saturday at Boozers Rock Bar at 3854 S. Padre Island Drive. Relatives and volunteers will be serving barbecue plates with chicken, sausage, rice, beans, potato salad and a soda for $8 each. The fundraiser runs from 11 a.m. until food runs out.
Ryu’s funeral services will be next week. The viewing will be Monday, April 15, at Saxet Funeral Home on 4001 Leopard Street from 4-9 p.m. His funeral will be Tuesday, April 16, at St. Joseph Catholic Church on 710 S. 19th Street at 10 a.m.