When a San Luis Obispo County woman recently received a call from a man who claimed that he had kidnapped her school-age daughter and demanded immediate ransom, the woman didn’t race to the bank, she raced to call 911. Deputies immediately responded to the school her daughter was attending, placed the school on lockdown, contacted the girl and made sure she was safe.
“These scammers instill panic in those they call,” said CSLEA Foundation Chair Kenny Ehrman. “They are demanding and convincing. They demand that you go to a bank and withdraw cash, or make a ransom payment by using your phone of computer. Hard as it is to think clearly, call the person the scammer alleges to have kidnapped, call family members, by all means call law enforcement. These guys are great at putting you in panic mode and getting you to do what they ask. They get familiar with your social media, so they seem to know a lot about you and your relationship with the person they say they kidnapped.”
Signs the kidnapping is a hoax meant to get you to pony up ransom:
- Caller is demanding, instills fear, and insist you stay on the line.
- Call is not made from the “victim’s” phone.
- Caller warns you not to contact “victim.”
- Caller doesn’t give up, calls frequently in short period of time.
- Caller demands ransom money to be paid via wire transfer.