LYNNFIELD (CBS) – There are new warnings from law enforcement officials about a kidnapping scam that has targeted parents all over Massachusetts. Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley says people have lost tens of thousands of dollars to these sophisticated scam artists.
But the most compelling warning comes from a Lynnfield mother named Laura. She was at work Monday when she received a phone call, saying her son had been in a car accident and was badly hurt. Then came the threat. The caller claimed her son had damaged his car and he would be shot unless she wired them $2000.
“I’m thinking he’s already injured. They’ve got a pistol to his head and I have to do what they say,” Laura told WBZ-TV. “When someone threatens your child it’s hard to hang up the phone.”
Laura didn’t know that at the same time, the criminals were on the phone with her 14 year old son, spinning a similar scary story. Both felt terrorized.
Laura was panicked and prepared to wire the money. However, before she left her office, she put the phone on speaker and her co-workers heard the threats. They contacted her family and reached out to police. By the time she arrived at the Western Union and was filling out the forms to send money, police arrived and told her all three of her sons were accounted for.
“Just complete relief. All I cared about was that my kids were OK,” she said.
The relief turned to terror all over again when she got home. The scam artist struck again, texting her this, “I’m going to find all your family and kill them all, I swear.”
Laura knows she gave the criminals her address. Now she and her kids live on edge, jumpy about strange phone numbers and turning on an alarm system at the house.
She is a smart, professional woman who says she’s usually skeptical, but these scammers were manipulative and knew the right buttons to push.
Police say there are reports like Laura’s coming in almost daily from around Massachusetts.
Two people were arrested in Springfield for targeting a Revere woman in a similar scam. But even after their arrests, the phone calls keep coming to unsuspecting and vulnerable parents.
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