Darien police post warning about kidnapping scam - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Darien police post warning about kidnapping scam

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Darien police are warning about a terrifying phone scam preying on a parent's fear. (WFSB) Darien police are warning about a terrifying phone scam preying on a parent's fear. (WFSB)

Police in Darien are warning residents along the shoreline about a kidnapping scam.

Phone scams are becoming a common occurrence and are popping up all over the state.

In this latest scam, Darien police said the caller claims to have a loved one and orders a person not to hang up the phone.

Police said the caller claims the person's child is being held against their will. The caller then demands payment for the child's safe return.

The person may even go as far as to "threaten" the child with torture.

 "There was a voice in the background, presumably a child crying for help to try to legitimize this phone call," Darien Police Det. Mark Cappelli said.

The victim is instructed to get in a car and drive directly to an ATM and withdraw a large sum of money.

The victim is then told to drive to a nearby retail area where no one shows up. Instead, the victim is ordered to wire the money.

"If you could ask questions, to identify where they are, to identify your child and you stumble them, they may end the phone," Cappelli said.

After that transaction is complete, the phone goes dead.

Stamford resident Jeff Okun said he knows the uncertainty these calls cause for people. Okun told Eyewitness News he received the IRS phone scam just the other day.

"They threatened I was going to be arrested, if I didn't comply," Okun said. "It's just really a scary situation." 

In the case that Darien police are investigating, they said the victim was able to confirm that their child never in any danger while on the phone with dispatchers. The person did not lose any money.

Many times the call is coming from overseas. 

Police stress, if you get this call, contact them as soon as possible.

Police released how you can protect yourself if you're on the other end of a phone call like this scam. Here are their tips: 

  • Do memorize or keep a written list of family cell phone numbers that can be easily accessed if your cell phone is in use.
  • Do not provide family information over the telephone. Simply responding to a simple question like “Do you have a daughter?” can trigger a kidnapping scam.
  • Do attempt to identify the location of the caller as well as the family member that has purportedly been kidnapped. The scammer may be unfamiliar with the local area.
  • Do ask specific questions to assess the validity of the call. Asking the hostage to describe your family member may prompt the caller to stop the scam and hang up.
  • Do notify the local police as soon as possible, even when instructed not to.
  • Do save the incoming telephone number along with any text messages, voicemails, or photographs sent by the caller.

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