WRENTHAM (CBS) – Victoria Hebner posted a vacation picture from Las Vegas that almost caused her mother to fall victim to a hoax.
Victoria posted a picture that alerted someone that she was not at her home in her California. The person tracked down her mother, Patricia Hebner and called her.
“When I picked up the phone it was a girl screaming on it saying, ‘Mom you’ve got to help me. I’m in trouble, please help me,'” said Patricia.
“A man came on and he said ’I have your daughter, she’s in the back of my van, and I’m going to kill her unless you get me some money.’”
Patricia panicked. She was unaware that the call was a scam.
“She thought her daughter was in the custody of these kidnappers in the back of the van. And she was being told to go to the bank and stay on the line, not to hang up and to wire money,” said Wrentham Deputy Police Chief William McGrath.
Patricia said it sounded so real, she considered sending money.
She asked the purported kidnappers how much they wanted and they said, “What is your daughter’s life worth, $5,000? $10,000?”
During the conversation, she ran outside, and grabbed a neighbor to call 911. When police got there, the call was still in progress.
“She was over the top distraught, barely able to compose herself,” said McGrath.
Wrentham police were aware of the scam, but said they had to treat it as if it were real until they could track down Victoria Hebner and confirm she was safe.
“When I called my mom she just started bawling,” Victoria said.
Her mother was in shock, but relieved to learn her daughter was OK.
“You’re going to do whatever it takes if you think someone you love is in danger,” said Victoria.
Wrentham police say the call was from Mexico, but they were not immediately able to trace it.
They are working with law enforcement at different levels, and say it has been happening across the country.