A local family wants others to be on alert for a phone scam that uses a startling hoax to hook its victims.
The end goal is like many other schemes with criminals trying to trick you out of money. However, these scammers are using violent threats to make some quick cash.
Imagine thinking you’re getting a phone call from your mother only to answer and hear an unfamiliar voice. A local woman says it happened to her last week. On the other end was a man who she says told her, “If you care about her, you’ll do what I say.”
Those chilling words understandably sent her into panic mode.
“Because it came up as her calling, I figured, ‘Well, they must have her because it’s her phone,'” the woman who does not want to be identified tells KRIS 6 News.
What she didn’t know at the time was this was a dangerous twist to a scam known as spoofing. It’s a phone scam that occurs when people manipulate the information sent to your caller ID. Just a short time later, the same thing would happen to her mother.
That woman, who also chooses to conceal her identity, recalls, “It was a man’s voice saying, ‘We’ve got your girl and we’re going to kill her if you don’t do what we say.'”
Both women say they received instructions to get in their cars and honk their horns and go to their banks to take out cash. From there, they were told to go to several different stores to specifically purchase MoneyPak gift cards. The daughter didn’t specify how much she spent on the cards but says she was scammed out of “a pretty good amount” of money.
As her mother is in the car about to go through the same ordeal, she says she noticed something strange on her dashboard display.
“I heard, beep beep, and on the screen it said conference call ended,” she says.
Following that tone and message, the mother says she suddenly heard her daughter’s voice and asked if someone had her. After replying no, she asked her mother the same question and received the same response.”
The daughter says her mother continued,”Someone’s trying to do something. Wherever you are, get out. Get out.” She says she went to the nearest fire station and that’s where she and her mother met after the two-hour saga.
Looking back on incident, they urge people to recognize what they say are the red flags of this scam.
“Getting in the car and honking your horn. That seems to be a red flag right there,” the mother says. She adds, “When they start talking about the gift cards, that’s when you know it’s a scam. They don’t want your cash. They want something untraceable.”
The daughter also urges people to follow the advice that she received from local police after filing a report. She says, “The detective told us no matter what they say — like, to not call the cops — call the cops.”
“If this happened again, I would absolutely call the cops. I don’t regret what I did even though it cost me some money because I believed that they had my mom.”
Although they’re still emotionally shaken, the mother and daughter are just happy they weren’t physically harmed.
“I’m glad that neither of us was physically harmed but I wouldn’t wish this experience on anyone,” the mother says about the incident.
“I feel bad for the person who thought they needed to go to these extremes to get money,” the daughter adds. “Because it really terrorized me and my family.”
You can find more information about spoofing by visiting this page on the FCC’s website.