(BCN) – Santa Cruz police are warning residents to be aware of a kidnapping scam that occurred to three families this weekend, police said.
The victims reported that a person called them to say family members had been kidnapped. The family members would be returned safely only if the victim gave the caller cash.
Each call was a hoax because family members who supposedly were kidnapped were found to be safe, police said.
All three calls were similar. A family member answers the phone to hear a baby or woman crying.
A male caller calls the victim by their last or first name and says, “This is a kidnapping. Listen to my instructions. We are holding your family members hostage. Send me money or you will never see your family members again.”
Each person who received the call hung up on the caller and found that their family members were safe, police said.
Police confirmed that the family members were safe.
Officers who investigated the calls found that they came from blocked or restricted numbers.
Anyone who receives a similar call should call 911 and try to get in touch with their family members to see whether the call is a scam.
Police said they believe the scam is a version of the Virtual Kidnapping Scam.
The FBI suggests residents avoid the pressure to act in haste when receiving a call of this sort and never wire money over the phone or by email, especially overseas.
Wiring money is the same as giving someone cash. Once it’s given, it’s gone.