BOONE COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Boone County Sheriff’s Office is making people aware of recent kidnapping scams that left two families terrified.
Deputies say on Monday and Tuesday, two separate families were called from a foreign number saying their child had been kidnapped.
The parents told deputies they thought they heard their child claiming, “They have me” and “I’m in a white van.”
Deputies say the scam is commonly known as a ‘Virtual Kidnapping Ransom Scam’ and parents who are subjected to it describe it as terrifying and very realistic.
After the first incident, the father told deputies the scammer told him, “If you want to see your daughter again, follow my instructions.” Deputies say the father quickly called his wife, who confirmed their daughter was still in school.
Deputies say the second call was similar to the first, but the scammer demanded money and threatened to kill the child if the mother hung up the phone. According to deputies, the mother was able to confirm her daughter was safe and in school while staying on the phone with the scammer.
Deputies say it’s important to remain calm in these situations and to quickly take steps to verify the whereabouts of family members.
According to deputies, checking social media settings to make sure no personal information is being shared can also help because scammers can use those details to make the situations seem more realistic.