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TCSO Warns About Kidnapping Scam

Sonora, CA — A kidnapping scam was reported to the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office this week.

A salesman in the county conducting business received a call from a suspect claiming that a family member had been kidnapped and was being held for ransom. The ransom demand was real, but the kidnapping was fake. The sheriff’s office reports that often times scam artists use techniques to instill a sense of fear, panic and urgency to rush people into making a hasty decision. The salesman could not get a hold of his family member and feared the kidnapping was legit. He started a money wiring process before the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office became involved. Later, with the help of the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office, the family member was located safe, and it was deemed to have been a scam. The swindler continued to call, even though he was advised that the jig was up.

The sheriff’s office reports the phone number used originated from Mexico and an internet search confirmed it has been associated with numerous scams in the past.

If you feel you may be the victim of a scam, you should contact law enforcement. Other tips are listed below:

-Try to slow the situation down.
-Request to speak to the victim directly. Ask, “How do I know my loved one is okay?” If they don’t let you speak to the victim, ask them to describe the victim or their vehicle.
-Listen carefully to the voice of the kidnapped victim if they speak.
-Attempt to call, text, or contact the victim from another phone while staying on the line with alleged kidnappers.
-To buy time, repeat the caller’s request and tell them you are writing down the demand, or tell the caller you need time to get things moving.

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