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Aug. 20 - Chatham County Police Department Warns of Phone Scam Centered on Kidnapping Claims

Savannah Business Journal Staff Report

August 20, 2018 - The Chatham County Police Department is warning the public about a phone scam where victims are asked to pay a ransom to secure the release of a kidnapped relative.

Investigators say a mother and daughter were recent targets of the scam in Chatham County. Both received phone calls saying the other had been kidnapped, and demanding a ransom. Victims may believe the kidnapping hoax is real because before placing a call, the suspects are hacking into victims’ cell phones and accessing their contact list. They can then copy the phone number, and make it appear that the ransom call is actually coming from a loved one’s phone. In today’s incident, the scammer asked for a specific amount of money, told the victims to put the money on a card purchased from a specific location, and said he would follow up with further instructions on where to leave the card.

Investigators say incidents involving this scam were also reported by other jurisdictions in the area today.

There are several ways to keep from becoming a victim. First, do not open any links on your phone sent to you by someone you don’t know. This is how the scammers are accessing cell phone contact lists.

If you receive a call claiming a loved one has been kidnapped, ask specific questions including your loved one’s date of birth, physical description and clothing description.

Anyone who is a victim of this scam should report the incident to police.

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