Don’t Waste Your Money: Kidnapping scams

(WHTM)– It’s one of the most frightening scams out there right now, not only does it attempt to steal thousands of dollars from you, but it claims a loved one is in danger.

Kevin David owns an appliance shop, when he’s not busy selling kitchen items. But his world came crashing to stop recently when he received a terrifying call from his daughter Brooke.

“It was Brooke’s voice,” David said. “It started out very calm and slow, Dad this is Brooke.”

The young woman then became hysterical.

“I couldn’t understand anything else she was saying,” David said.

David says a man suddenly got on the phone.

“He says we’ve got Brooke, and she’s in the back of my car now,” David said.

The man wanted $5,000 wired to him or he would hurt her. Luckily a co-worker saw what was going on and called Brooke directly. She was at school, perfectly safe, but David is sure he heard her crying for help.

“They had her voice, they had her name, they had my name,” David said.

The virtual kidnapping scam plays on your worst fears and police say people are falling for it every day. The same thing happened a couple of years ago to home inspector Jim Kidd.

It was a call that would make any parent frantic.

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“I heard what sounded like my daughter in distress,” Kidd said. “She called me Daddy, like she does when she’s upset about something, it was very convincing.”

A man then said he had kidnapped Kidd’s 27 year old daughter.

“They said we want you to know we have your daughter and do not hang up, and if you hang up we will kill her,” Kidd said, and when asked if he thought about questioning the call, he said “I just wanted her home and safe, that was it.”

“These are very well funded, very sophisticated operations,” Tim Maniscalo of the Better Business Bureau said. “A lot of them originate outside the country.”

The FBI says if you get a call like this:

  • keep the caller on the line.

  • try to text the loved one, or another family member.

  • listen to their demands but don’t panic, and be skeptical.

Brooke can see how her dad fell for the call. “You don’t even question it at first, because this is my kid,” she said.

Finally the FBI suggests setting up a password so that if its really a loved one in trouble, they will know the secret word, and that way you don’t waste your money.

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