A virtual kidnapping scam sweeping the South Bay has parents on edge and law enforcement rushing to find the culprits.
The Milpitas Police Department said on Friday that a woman was scammed over the weekend after getting a call from an unknown number. When she answered, she was suddenly plunged into every parent's worst nightmare.
“Mom, please help me! Someone grabbed me, and I am in a van,” said the young voice on the other end of the call. A man then took the phone and demanded money, saying the screaming girl would be killed if the woman didn’t comply.
Believing the girl was her daughter, the victim did as she was told: She drove to Walmart and wired money to a man in Mexico. Throughout the transfer, the man told the woman that the girl would be killed if the police were alerted.
Police say that the victim wired a “small amount” of money to the man, and once the transfer was complete, the man told the woman it was a scam.
Confused, the woman called her daughter, who was safe.
“The Milpitas Police Department would like to remind everyone to be suspicious of any telephone call where the caller imposes a problem or crisis and the only solution is electronically transferring money or purchasing prepaid gift cards,” the department said in a statement. “If you receive a suspicious phone call of this nature, you are encouraged to report it to law enforcement.”