BOCA RATON, FL (BocaNewsNow.com) — A telephone scam where the caller claims your loved one is kidnapped and will be killed if you don't wire money immediately is growing through Boca Raton. Police are now investigating at least two episodes of the scam over the past several days.
While you probably don't want to automatically assume that the caller is lying — unless the “kidnapped” family member is standing in front of you — Boca Police issued the following advisory this morning with guidance on what to do should you get the call.
In the last few days, Boca Raton Police Department officers have investigated two incidents of a specific type of nationwide scam. The victims received phone calls from an unknown person calling from 787, 786, and/or 347 area codes (all Puerto Rico). The suspect tells the victim a family member has been kidnapped, or in a car accident and kidnapped. The suspect tells the victim that if they hang up the phone or call the police, the family member will be killed.
Victims are instructed to wire money, via Western Union, to various people in Puerto Rico. The increments of money are generally around $1,000. After the victim has complied with the instructions, they discover the family members are safe, unharmed, and had never been approached by anyone or were ever in any danger.
If you receive a phone call like this, it is most likely a scam. Find a way to have someone else call your family member and try to notify police while you are on the phone with the caller. When speaking with the suspect, never add any information about the family member. Be aware that criminals are always looking for new ways to take your money or belongings. Never sent money via Western Union to a person you do not know. Kidnappers don’t use Western Union. Be alert, vigilant and report all suspicious activity.
If you have any information about these crimes or similar crimes, call Detective Max Del Valle at (561) 338-1302 or Palm Beach County Crime Stoppers at (800) 458-TIPS.