Police warn residents of a phone scam that is being used to extort money from unsuspecting victims by saying a relative is in danger.
Police in Central Pennsylvania have identified at least six victims as of Nov. 19, that received phone calls stating their relative was in danger and was either taken hostage or involved in a minor accident, according to Newtown Township Police Chief Christopher Lunn.
During the calls, the victim is told they must pay $2,000 or their relative will be harmed and the callers give some background information on the victims and in one incident, knew the victims’ brother’s name, work location and cell phone number, according to Lunn.
Investigations have determined the calls originated from Puerto Rico and were made using a pre-paid cellular phone, and although the calls emanate from outside the country, the caller ID on the victim’s phone typically displays a local number, according to Lunn.
No suspect has been identified at this time and it is unknown how the callers acquired the victim’s personal information.
On Monday, Kim Robson, of West Chester, was the victim of the same type of phone scam when she received a phone call from an unknown man who told her that her father was being held hostage after being involved in a car crash, according to Lunn.
Robson told philly.com the scam felt real and she believed the callers would do anything to get their money.
The caller demanded that she send a MoneyGram for $1,000 to Puerto Rico or her father would be shot, according to Lunn.
When Robson hung up the phone, she contacted her father and determined he was safe and at work, according to philly.com, and she had been scammed.
If anyone receives this type of phone call, immediately hang up the phone and report it to your local police department.