You receive a call from someone claiming to have kidnapped your relative. In the background, you hear screaming and a beating. What do you do?
What started out as a scam in 1998 in Puerto Rico, continues to originate from various countries today. It goes in cycles and appears to be starting up again.
In a case we recently became aware of, a person in Mexico called a woman here in the United States. When the woman answered, she heard what sounded like a person being beaten, and screams of agonizing pain. The caller said they had kidnapped one of woman's relatives, and they demanded money to stop the beating.
In this day of technology, the suspects in these cases are obtaining personal information through the use of social media. Once they have identified a "victim," they research relatives to find who is living in their country. By knowing personal information, they give themselves some form of credibility. They then place the phone call in hopes of getting you to pay the ransom.
Simply Hang Up
If you are able to use a second phone, or have someone with you who has a phone, try calling the supposedly kidnapped relative to verify their safety.
If you are confident it is a hoax, hang up the telephone. If you believe it is real, have someone call your local law enforcement agency.