Pennsylvania State Police troopers from the Kittanning barracks warned local residents about a new type of scamming that is affecting the region.
Troopers say that the new scam includes fake kidnapping. They describe that victims are contacted via phone and the caller identifies themselves as a family member that has been kidnapped. The caller requests money in order to release them from the kidnapper’s custody, and will often cry or make attempts to mask their own voice to try and persuade victims. A third person, usually a male, then gets on the phone and makes further monetary demands, and states that if they contact police, their family member will be physically harmed.
Variations to this hoax include: a loved one in jail and needing money for bond/legal fees in another state or country, a loved one involved in an automobile accident in another state and needing money for doctor/attorney bills, a loved one (usually a young child) kidnapped while coming to/from school, winning money from a foreign lottery you don’t remember entering and they need a fee to send you your winnings, etc. etc.
If residents find themselves receiving a similar phone call, State Police officials urge residents to reach out to their family members first before actually sending money to verify if they are safe. Ask questions of the caller that only family members would know the answer to. Then, call 9-1-1 if you believe they are in danger.