ARLINGTON, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – A phone scam where parents are being told their children were kidnapped has been targeting victims in North Texas recently over the last month.
In some of the cases, victims have given up as much as $6,000 even though their children were never in danger.
In Arlington, there have been at least nine reports of these types of calls within the last month. Police say they’ve lumped these calls together with other scams in what they call “economic extortion crimes.”
It’s a tactic that was, unfortunately, been successful recently.
According to police, the calls began in August with the scammers telling parents that their children were kidnapped and that money was needed for their safe return. The victims were told to drive to their nearest store like Kroger, CVS or Walgreens and transfer money in the amount of $5,000 to $6,000.
Police say there were some calls that involved two people where one of them would pretend to be the victim’s child.
The calls appeared to target victims with children in high school or who were already adults. The scammers also didn’t seem to know much about the person they supposedly kidnapped.
“Whether its an IRS scam, you got an arrest warrant scam, or now it’s ‘hey we have your kids,’ and it’s a kidnap scam, they’re all about the same… It’s just to try to get money out of you. And once you wire the money, you’ll never see your money again,” Lt. Chris Cook with Arlington police said.
Wise County also saw these types of calls, with at least one reported last month involving a phone number that appeared to be from Mexico.
Police recommend that parents who receive these types of calls stay calm and call 911 if there’s real concern in order to make sure their child is actually safe.