Arvada police warn of new scam -- the virtual kidnapping

Posted at 3:35 PM, Aug 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-30 21:13:33-04

ARVADA, Colo. -- Arvada police are warning the public about a new scam they're calling a virtual kidnapping.

Police said scam artists are calling people and claiming to be a "medical response team" or an ambulance driver at the scene of an accident. The caller asks if you have relatives in the metro area.

If you reply that you do, and say something like, "I have an aunt in Denver," the caller makes up a lie.

"You are then informed your aunt has hit a gang member on a motorcycle, and because the gang member has a warrant out for his arrest, did not want the police notified," Arvada police said. "The 'father' of the gang member gets on the phone. He wants money and wants it now. He threatens that if you don’t cooperate, he will kidnap your aunt."

Police said this just one example, and there have been other variations on this theme.

Investigators said one consistency is you're not allowed to speak to your "family member."

Arvada police said if this happens to you, tell the caller you are going to call the police and hang up.

Investigators said the scam has been making its way through the metro area, including Arvada.

If you get a call, write down the incoming phone number and report it to the Arvada police at 720-898-6900.

The scam is very similar to the Grandparent Scam.

In that scam, you get a call that your grandchild is in a Mexican jail, a hospital or has some other emergency and needs money immediately. In that scam, the caller plays on your sympathy saying your grandchild wanted you called, instead of their parents.

"There are many very smart and educated people who fall for these scams," police said. "We are all overwhelmed when we believe a loved one is in danger and needs our help. These scammers prey on that and are very skilled in getting folks to react quickly and with their checkbooks. Don’t be their victim."


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