Terrifying new kidnapping hoax puts parents on edge
OKLAHOMA CITY –- A scary hoax is making its way into the Oklahoma City metro.
Parents are getting a call out of the blue that their child has been kidnapped.
High income targets in the medical field are being targeted in what the FBI is calling "virtual kidnappings."
No one is actually taken, but the crooks are hoping fear will overcome the victim.
"We were so spooked, that we didn't let my five-year-old go to soccer practice that night," Dr. Clay Sigmon, with Full Circle Dental Care in Del City, said of the call he received last week.
Dr. Sigmon said a man with a Hispanic accent told him he was with a cartel and they had kidnapped his daughter.
"A girl gets on the phone crying and says 'I don't know where I am. They've got me.'" he said.
The man threatened to cut off her fingers and cut her throat if he didn't receive money, but Dr. Sigmon knew that was not his daughter's voice.
"Right when he said that, that's when I actually said, 'this is some kind of sick joke' and hung up on him," said Dr. Sigmon.
He called his daughters to make sure they were okay, and soon discovered this was a popular scam.
"You just don't feel safe," he said, "and even though I know this was a scam now, it's still just in the back of your head."
The FBI says "virtual kidnapping" tries to get victims to wire transfer "ransom money" in exchange for the safe return of a loved one.
"People do get kidnapped, so anytime you get a phone call like this, people are concerned that it could be legitimate," Del City Police Major Jody Suit said. "Without knowing exactly who we're dealing with, even if we had a phone number that took you to an address, you still have to prove who the voice was on the other end. It's just really a difficult case."
The FBI says avoid sharing information about your family.
Listen carefully to the voice of the kidnapped victim.
Attempt to call or determine their location.
Request to speak to the victim.
Ask questions only they would know.
Request the kidnapped victim call back from his or her cell phone.
The FBI in San Antonio tells NewsChannel 4 a dentist there recently lost more than a thousand dollars in this scam, and a Houston physician lost two thousand dollars.
Major Suit says even though these are difficult cases to solve, file a police report.
It may eventually help catch the crooks.
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