Crime San Francisco Bay Area

Police Report Increase in Phone Kidnapping Scams

Santa Clara police are reporting an increase in phone scams that aim to extort money by demanding ransom for fake kidnappings. Callers typically target a parent or a grandparent by threatening violence and playing the sound of a child yelling hysterically in the background, police said. These scams need to be carried out quickly and can end with the victim wiring funds to the scammer.

Police said people can avoid these scams by staying alert for the following giveaways: Scammers will try to keep the victim on the line, calls do not come from the phone number of the supposed victim and the suspect demands that the victim pay a ransom.

Victims should not say the loved one’s name and ask questions only their loved one would know. Anyone who suspects a real kidnapping should contact police, and ransom demand scams can be reported to the Santa Clara police non-emergency line at (408) 615-5580.

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