20 Aug 2014
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Patch Instagram photo by nrg51
Patch Instagram photo by nrg51

Police Warn of Ransom Extortion Scam in Boston

Victims are being called or texted claiming a family member or loved one is being held captive and will be harmed until money is paid.

Police Warn of Ransom Extortion Scam in Boston

Boston Police are warning residents about a phone extortion scam that involves victims being called and told that a loved one or family member is being held captive, or will be harmed, unless a ransom is paid. 

According to BPDnews.com, the police have taken several reports from residents who have been targets of the scam.

In several cases the suspects say they captured their victim after an alleged motor vehicle accident that resulted in property damage that he or she cannot pay for. Family members have been able to contact the alleged kidnapped victim and confirm he or she has not been kidnapped, BPDnews.com reported.

"It is not uncommon for the caller to know basic details about the victim’s life, including names of family members, places of employment and school information. This information is used to help convince the victim of the legitimacy of the caller’s claims," according to the post.

Victims are often told to not call the police. 

Boston police provided tips on receiving similar phone calls:

  • Ask the caller specifics about where the family member is located
  • Have the caller physically describe the family member to see if the caller can provide some level of detail that could help confirm or dispel the claim.
  • After gathering as many details as possible during the call the resident should attempt to make contact with the person that is allegedly being held captive and confirm safety.
  • If a text is received the resident should first make contact with the person that is allegedly being held captive to ensure that they are safe and if they are unable to make contact then they should probe the individual texting to provide specifics, as mentioned above.
  • In all cases note the phone number where the call or text originated and report the incident to the Boston Police Department.

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