Police Caution Minnesota Parents of Abduction Phone Call Scams
It's probably one of the scariest phone calls a parent could receive. But make sure you use caution before responding rashly.
A Hutchinson father recently received a phone call from a woman claiming to be his kidnapped daughter. The woman on the other end of the line was crying and distraught, saying she'd been abducted and was being held in the trunk of a car. A man then took the phone and claimed he'd taken the girl from a Walmart, demanding the father visit a Western Union and pay a ransom for her.
The man did not pay the ransom, instead alerting police. As it turned out, his daughter was safe at school the whole time. Police were able to trace the phone call to a number in Mexico.
Abduction and similar scams are unfortunately very common.
A couple years back, I received a Facebook message from my aunt who lives in California. After an initial greeting, she told me she'd gone on a vacation to Mexico where here wallet, ID and money had all been stolen. She then asked me to send her some money to help return her home.
At face value, it was a believable story. But I hadn't heard anything about her going on vacation, and I wanted to be sure it was actually my aunt. So I asked her a personal question only she and close family members would know the answer to. When she didn't respond and the conversation ended, I knew her Facebook account had been hacked.
These abduction phone call scams are not new; Bring Me the News reported incidents in the Twin Cities suburbs back in 2016. Those who receive such phone calls are encouraged to note the phone number the call comes in on and report it immediately to police.