MANCHESTER, N.H. (CBS) — The search for a missing New Hampshire mother and her 4-year-old son that initiated an Amber Alert Tuesday evening appears to have been sparked by a “sophisticated phone scam,” Manchester police say.

Both were initially reported as “missing under suspicious circumstances and may be in danger,” police said at the time. Soon after the alert, they were found safe.

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“Our detectives now believe that this incident was actually a sophisticated phone scam,” Manchester police said Wednesday. “There is no indication that the mother and child were in danger.”

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Law enforcement have warned the public about these types of scams in the past. The scammers tell the victim that a family member is in trouble and they demand a ransom payment, while insisting the victim does not hang up so they can’t call others for help.

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“If this ever happens to you, and you are concerned, stay on the line but use another device to text or email the family member in question to verify that they are safe,” Manchester police said. “If no device is available, write down a phone number and give it to someone else so that they can call for you and also notify the police.”

CBSBoston.com Staff