We are warning residents about a nationwide kidnapping ransom scam that is occurring in our community. Although no one is physically kidnapped in this scam, they are often incredibly traumatic for everyone involved.
Through technology known as spoofing, victims receive a call from what appears to be a family member. Victims are told that a family member has been kidnapped and a ransom must be paid to ensure a safe return. Scammers will use the alleged kidnapped family member's actual name (e.g., "I have your mother. I will shoot Cathy if you don’t send me money right now"). In the background of the call, victims hear screaming; many victims claim that the screaming sounds just like their loved one. The victim is often ordered to remain on the phone until ransom money is wired.
Over the past few days, we have fielded multiple calls from panicked victims who believe that their family member has been kidnapped. The scammers appear to be targeting middle to older-aged residents.
If you receive a kidnapping ransom call, remain calm and question the legitimacy of the call. Avoid sharing information about you or your family during the call and ask to speak with your family member directly. If you have any questions about whether the call is a kidnapping ransom scam or a legitimate kidnapping, contact your family member directly or your local police jurisdiction.