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New scam makes people believe loved ones are kidnapped

By Emily Allen, Multimedia Journalist /Target 13 Investigator , emily.allen@krdo.com
Published On: Oct 15 2013 02:20:24 PM CDT
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -

Colorado Springs police investigated a scam Tuesday that fooled a man into thinking his loved one was kidnapped to get money.

A man walked into the Gold Hill Division of the Colorado Springs police just before 1 a.m. Monday. He was on the phone when he handed a note to the duty desk sergeant. The note said the person on the other end of the phone call had taken his mother hostage and demanded money to keep her out of danger.

Police said the man initially believed the caller and the caller's story that his mother was kidnapped. He was on his way to wire money to an account provided by the caller when some discrepancies started to appear in his story, that's when the man headed to the police station.

At the police station, the man handed the phone to an officer.  The scammer once again stated the man's mom was held hostage and wanted money. The police officer identified himself and the caller hung up. Police were able to trace the number to a person in Puerto Rico. The scammer has not tried to contact the man since police got involved.

Colorado Springs Police Chief Pete Carey said its a tactic scammers are utilizing across the country. 

Police investigate different scamming tactics daily. However, this is different because scammers are using personal information and that makes it more believable.

Scammers use social media sites to get information about loved ones that can be used to fool people.

"(The scammer was) able to describe his mother's vehicle," said Sgt. Jerry Steckler with Colorado Springs Police Department.

Steckler stressed the importance of keeping certain information private on social media. 

Police have a few tips to keep you and your money safe.

  • Change your privacy settings so only friends can see information like where you live and where you work.
  • Do not post public status updates alerting people about what you're up to or if you're out of town.
  • Be conscious of what is in the background of your photos - a picture with your house number or license plate offers key information to scammers.
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