Scammers play with parents' emotions - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Scammers play with parents' emotions

(Photo Source: WAFB) (Photo Source: WAFB)
EAST FELICIANA PARISH, LA (WMC) -

A new scam is making the rounds through the United States, preying on parents.

In this new money-grabbing scheme, scam artists call and claim they're holding children hostage until they get what they want.

For one mother, the experience was terrifying.

"I was sitting in the doctor's office, and I got a phone call that my son was in an accident," recalled the woman, who did not want to be identified.

The man on the other end of the phone said her adult son hit his car.

"The guy panics because he was on probation and put a gun to his head and kidnapped him," said the woman. "He is holding him hostage until I bring him his money for his bumper."

The man threatened her son's life and demanded $800 for his release. Like any mother, the woman said she would do anything to protect her son.

She was going to give the man the money until Kevin Garig, who works for East Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office, known as "Kevin," told the woman to hold off.

"We went to Walmart in Baker to do it, and Kevin kept telling me, 'Don't do it,'" recalled the woman. "And it's like, the hell this is my son."

Garig wanted to check if the woman's son was in any accidents before she handed over the cash. He couldn't find any reports, so she kept her money and saved herself from being added to a growing list of victims.

"That's been going on for a few months in the United States," Garig explained.

Garig says the crooks call from foreign countries where they feel safe from US authorities. When they demand money, most people pay.

Additionally, scammers' smart phones have the technology to make victims believe the situation is real.

"They will use an app on their phone called spoof app," said Garig. "They can actually put a local number into your phone even though they are calling from a foreign country that will further lead you to believe that they are someone local and they are telling the truth."

The best way to protect yourself is never to give out personal information over the phone, and always call law enforcement if you're unsure.

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