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My friend flew from Austin, TX for a contract job to Istanbul, Turkey. Upon arrival he had to order $450k in construction equipment. His order was successfully processed and is currently sitting in Customs. The Customs agents took his passport due to them requesting another $84k in taxes. Due to his bank here believing his bank account had been compromised, his account is locked. Not only that, the Customs agents will not give him his passport even though they have his $450k in equipment, have appeared in person to harass him at the hotel. He is a widowed father of a young daughter who travels with him.

Both he and his daughter will be stuck in Turkey for Christmas and possibly longer. Any suggestions how to proceed as he must appear in Virginia to fix his account. They still have his equipment and passport.

  • So you're saying he's trying to export $450k of construction equipment from Turkey? And his passport is being held because he, personally, needs to pay $84k in taxes? How did you hear about this, and are you 100% positive (as in, have spoken by video link) that it's actually your friend? – jpatokal Dec 23 '18 at 20:36
  • Sorry, not trying to export, trying to import equipment for his construction job. Yes, have spoken via video chat. 100% positive its him unless he has an identical twin. I have had many conversations/phone & video as we are trying to figure out anything to get him home to fix his bank account. They want him to appear in person at the bank. – user89684 Dec 23 '18 at 20:44
  • You’re sure this is not a scam? Have you met him before, done business with him before? I’ll bet my last dollar this is just another variant of the scams going around. Be very very careful. Turkish Immigration or customs officials will not mess with an American citizen like that, appear at his hotel to harass him etc. You’re being scammed. Even if you’re in deep already, cut your losses now. No use trying to recoup lost money with more money. – Honorary World Citizen Dec 23 '18 at 21:06
  • Ho-ho-ho. Next he will tell you that he can settle the issue (or maybe get his passport back) for $5000 or so. Or he'll want you to pass the $84k through your bank account via a 'friend'. Scam. Run away. – mkennedy Dec 23 '18 at 21:08
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    If your friend is legit, he should stop talking to you and go directly to the nearest US embassy or consulate. They can help him get back to the USA legitimately, passport or no passport. If he doesn't want to do this, then you are almost certainly being scammed. – Michael Hampton Dec 24 '18 at 0:08

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