Local police warn of virtual kidnapping ransom scam

OXFORD, Miss. — Oxford Police are warning people about a phone scam where the person on the other end of the phone claims to have abducted a family member for ransom.

Hundreds of people across the country have fallen victim to this scam, paying more than $30,000 combined to scammers.

The Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South is now offering tips to make sure this doesn’t happen to you.

“You get something like that, it’s very emotional, and you just react. As a parent, I would as well. If I think something is wrong with my child, there is nothing I won’t do,” said Daniel Irwin with the Better Business Bureau of the Mid-South.

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The Oxford Police Department has warned people of the scam.

Investigators said when you answer, a small child screams “Mommy,” then someone who sounds like a Hispanic man demands something for their return.

”They’re just trying to play on your emotions. If you sit and think about it, you will realize it’s not real,” said Irwin.

Oxford Police said they had received multiple reports of this scam but did not say anyone paid up. However, that’s not the case across the country.

”We’ve received 117 reports for a total dollar loss of more than $30,000,” said Irwin.

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And that’s just halfway into the year. Now, the BBB is offering tips to make sure you don’t fall victim.

”The main thing you can do is sit back and think about it. Try not to react emotionally. Call a family friend, the BBB, the police, but call someone and run it by them first,” said Irwin.

We’re also told these scammers know personal information because that family member may have posted revealing information on social media.