Hollister police warned of a “virtual kidnapping scam” involving a person on the phone claiming to have kidnapped a relative while attempting to coerce money out of the victim.
According to a police statement released Sunday?
On February 17, 2018, a virtual kidnapping scam occurred in Hollister. There have been several incidents reported in the Hollister area over the last week.
In this occasion, the victim received a call on the cell phone from an unknown number. The suspect told the victim they had her daughter hostage at the Walgreens in Hollister. The victim also heard a female in the background and believed her to be her daughter. The victim was convinced that her daughter had been captured and kidnapped and believed that suspects were going to hurt her. The suspect demanded the victim to not notify anyone else or the Police and advised her to come to the Walgreens store.
The victim drove to the Walgreens store and gave the suspect the description of her vehicle. The suspect advised the victim that he saw her by the Walgreens store and advised the victim that he was monitoring her. The suspect asked her if she had any jewelry that she could sell to the pawn shops in exchange for cash and to go to a Western Union to send a Money Gram.
Thankfully, due to the assistance of the victim’s family members and finding out that her daughter was not kidnapped, the victim confirmed the kidnapping call was a hoax. The victim was in tears due to the stress and fear of her losing her daughter.
The Hollister Police Department would like to remind everyone to be suspicious of any telephone calls where the caller imposes a problem or crisis and demanding money only by electronically transferring or purchasing prepaid cards. If you receive a suspicious phone call of this nature, you are encouraged to report it to law enforcement. These fraudulent schemes can be prevented by remaining well informed.
Consider developing secret words or phrases that only your family members would know. The scammers usually are calling random numbers and listen for clues or phrases from the victim to assist in convincing the victim that they have their relative held hostage. Another popular scam is to call elderly victims and convince them their adult grandson or granddaughter have been in an accident or arrested and ask for money to be transferred immediately. The caller identifies themselves as their grandson, and the victim will ask “are you…” followed by the name of the relative. The scammer then assumes that name.
The police department has received several reports of people in Hollister receiving similar calls. The Hollister Police Department would like to increase the public’s awareness of scams that are occurring to extort money from victims. Please share this information with your friends, family, and neighbors. For more information or additional tips visit the FBI website; https://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/virtual-kidnapping