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Police Warn Of 'Kidnapping' Phone Scam

Posted at 1:24 PM, Mar 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-17 10:51:22-04

Officials with the Franklin Police Department have warned the frightening scam in which the scammer claims they have kidnapped one of the victim's loved ones or family members.

To get the loved one back, the scammers till the victims to immediately wire them cash. If they do not, the scammers have said they will kill the person they’ve “kidnapped.”

At least three Franklin residents have been targeted with these fake calls in March.

News Channel 5 spoke exclusively to one of the victims of the scam, Tara Winters, who said she got a call saying her husband had been kidnapped and pistol-whipped, and if Winters did not pay $900, the kidnappers said they would kill him. 

Winters said while she was skeptical of the call, the alleged kidnappers provided details about her husband that the average person would not know. 

"I was thinking to myself, how would they have my number, how would they have all these details?" Winters said. "I got really, really shaken up."

Winters said she continued to ask questions, and after about twenty minutes of talking, the alleged kidnappers hung up. 

Lt. Charles Warner with the Franklin Police Department said it's believed that many of the details these scammers get come from social media.

"That's a great place for these guys to go and harvest information not only about who you are, but who's important to you, and then use that information against you and try to get into your wallet." Warner said. 

In one of the calls, police said a frantic female even pretended to be the victim’s “kidnapped” daughter on the phone. A man then got on the phone and demanded $5,000 in exchange for the loved one’s life.

Authorities said of the three people who had reported the scam in Franklin, none of them sent money to the alleged kidnappers. 

Police said anyone who may receive one of these calls should attempt to slow the conversation down, ask for more time, and contact the alleged kidnapping victim and police.