Woman Flags Down Cops as Phone Scammer Threatens
A frantic woman asked police to help her when a caller told her that her son was being held for ransom -- the latest incident of the common kidnapped-relative scam.
A man with a Hispanic accent had called to tell her he got into a traffic accident with her son, who he had abducted and would harm him if she didn't immediatly wire him $2,000 to get her son released.
He told the victim he had already broken her son's hand.
The scam is a common one, and Darien police have received reports about it before -- often after a victim had already wired the money, never to see it again. (U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy has asked the FBI to help police with publicizing the scam; Norwalk police, after eight recent reports of the scam, have issued some advice to the public about it.)
In at least one previous call reported to Darien police, the caller had said he had broken the hand of the person he said was kidnapped.
Police said the woman was "extremely agitated" when she drove into the parking lot at about 12:30 p.m. and met them. As the woman spoke with the caller, she communicated to police with written notes.
With her notes, she gave police the phone number of her son. Police tried to call him, but couldn't reach him.
After some minutes, one of the police officers with the woman told her it's a common scam and asked her to give him her phone so that he could talk to the caller.
According to a police report, the officer pretended to be the woman's son and told the caller (in roughly these words): "How can you kill me? I'm right here."
At that point, the caller hung up the phone.
Eventually the son called his mother and told her he was not in a recent car accident and hadn't been kidnapped.
Police advised the woman to get in touch with Stamford police if she wanted police to try to contact the caller.