Date: January 31, 2018
Re: Kidnapping Scam
Issued by: Lieutenant Jeremiah
P. Marron Jr.
Darien, CT – Phone scam attempts targeting residents of Darien and surrounding towns
continue to occur at an alarming rate.
This morning a town resident became the target of a very real scam that
we’ve seen and heard about regularly.
Although law enforcement agencies around the
country feel that these incidents have been originating outside of the U.S. for
the past few years, the Darien Police Department investigates each occurrence. This agency has issued numerous advisories in
the past, however the warnings in some instances go unnoticed.
This morning’s incident involved an
unsuspecting resident who was not aware that this type of scam occurs in our
area every day. The victim received a
call from an unknown number and the caller informed her that her husband had
been in a car accident. The caller
informed the victim that the accident also involved the caller’s “brother” who
is a wanted felon so the police could not be called. The caller then demanded that the victim stay
on the phone and send money immediately or her husband would be killed.
began to follow the caller’s instructions and was en-route to a bank when she
was able to flag down two Darien Police Officers. With the caller still on the phone, the
officers immediately recognized that the details provided sounded identical to
scams that have targeted our area in the past.
In this morning’s case, the caller eventually instructed the victim to
go to a nearby Walmart and send an electronic funds transfer. Over the next several minutes, officers were
able to determine the husband’s location and with the assistance of another law
enforcement agency, physically met with him and confirmed that he was
safe. The victim then terminated the
phone call and did not sustain any financial loss.
There are many variations to this type of phone
scam and unfortunately it is often successful because it preys on a person’s
fear of a loved one being harmed. Although
the victims are relieved when they learn that their loved one is safe, their
money will likely never be recovered.
Here Is What To Do To Avoid
Becoming A Victim:
memorize or keep a written list of family cell phone numbers that can be easily
accessed if your cell phone is in use.
provide family information over the telephone. Simply responding to a simple
question like “Do you know where your husband is?” can trigger a kidnapping
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
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 try to buy time by repeating the caller’s request and tell them you are writing down the
demand, or tell the caller you need time to get things moving.
Do not wire
any funds for a “ransom.” These transactions are very difficult to trace and
upon completion are considered a loss.
notify the local police as soon as possible, even when instructed not to.
the incoming telephone number along with any text messages, voicemails, or
photographs sent by the caller.
panic; this scam feeds on fear. By remaining calm and rational, you may be able
to figure out that the call is a hoax.