Scammers now using kidnapping scheme to scare victims into handing over money

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A terrifying phone call is behind the latest scam going around and its victims are handing over thousands of dollars.

When you answer the phone you hear someone screaming on the other end of the line and then you hear a voice telling you your loved one will be killed if you do not fork over money.

For Darlene Moore, the nightmare started the moment she picked up the phone.

"She said, 'Mom, they have me, please help me,'" said Moore.

Moore immediately thought of her daughter who frequently works out of town, and she was very concerned.

"And she kept crying and saying, 'Please mom, they are going to cut off my fingers,'" said Moore.

Moore was convinced her daughter was in serious trouble and that's when an man's voice came on the other end of the line.

"He said, 'Now you need to listen to me if you want to see your daughter again and I am not playing with you,'" explained Moore.

By now Moore was in a panic, the caller said she would have to wire thousands of dollars to get her daughter home safely.

Moore was told to take her cell phone to the bank, but fortunately for Moore, she does not have a cell phone.

So her first stop had to be a cell phone store, where she saw a Houston police officer.

"I told him, 'I need you help, they have my daughter,'" said Moore.

"Visibly shaking, crying, and just almost out of control," said Senior Officer J.R. Lovett.

Officer Lovett says he knew the call was scam.

"We have had a few other calls over the last week or two where the same thing, they call them they say we have a family member of your, kidnapped," said Lovett.

Officer Lovett says this week a Kingwood resident wired $2,000 to someone claiming to be holding a loved one. Just like with Moore, the threat was not real.

After Lovett called Moore's daughter and confirmed she was OK, Moore had some choice words when the scammer called back.

"I gave him a direction to go for his eternal security," said Moore.

Police say these are just random phone calls, and say if you get call like this remember, the caller is trying to scare you into dropping your guard.

Do not give the caller any names at all. Do not tell them the names of your kids or your name. Instead hang up, call your loved ones and then call the police.
Related topics:
houstonscamaction 13
Copyright © 2019 KTRK-TV. All Rights Reserved.