Scammers are targeting Southern Californians, calling the victim on the phone and claiming to have kidnapped a family member. The scammer then claims to have injured the victim’s family member, often having someone scream in the background, and threatens to continue to do so unless they receive payment. The terrified victim then follows the scammer’s instructions to make payment.
In reality, the victim’s family members are unharmed and the scammer has not kidnapped them.
The FBI and the Los Angeles Police Department are warning residents about this scam after seeing an increase over the past two years. They provided the following tips to CBS Los Angeles:
- Most of the scam artists are calling from Mexico. Many have Spanish accents.
- They will demand that you stay on the phone so you don’t have a chance to see that your loved ones are actually OK.
- They will instruct you to send money or valuables immediately—either by wiring it or delivering the loot to a specific location.