Our Colorado Springs partners at KKTV report on the story of a woman who received a terrifying phone call that turned out to be a scam.  When she picked up the phone, she heard crying on the other end for “Mommy.”  Immediately, she feared it could be her seven-year-old son.  Then a man got on the phone, claiming to have kidnapped her son and threatening to kill him unless she followed his instructions and sent him money.  He told her to get in her car, drive away, and tell no one.  As she pulled out of her driveway in a panic, her older son flagged her down.  He had confirmed that the seven-year-old was safe at school and that the call was just a scam.  She contacted the sheriff’s department, which confirmed that this was not an isolated incident.  Another man in the area actually wired money to a scammer he believed had kidnapped his daughter, before learning she was safe at her college.

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Here are a few tips to follow to avoid falling victim to a scam like this one:

  • If you get a suspicious call, take a minute to think things through.
  • Try to verify the potential scammer’s story and don’t send money right away.  Make sure you have contact information for your loved ones’ schools, friends, or roommates so that you can check on their safety quickly and independently.
  • If you get a call from a number you don’t recognize, particularly if it’s from an unknown area code, it’s fine to not answer it.  If the call is important, the caller will leave a message.  You can then take extra time to look up an unfamiliar area code and number, which will give you a better idea if the call is genuine.  In this case, the woman was getting a call from an international number, which is another indicator that it could be a scam.