Police: Mansfield family targeted by fake kidnapping scam call

By: News Staff

Email: news@abc6.com

Twitter: @ABC6

MANSFIELD, Mass. (WLNE) — Mansfield Police say robocall scammers are getting "deviously crafty" with a new kind of call that almost cost a local family over the weekend.

Multiple police departments responded to a situation Saturday afternoon starting in Mansfield where an unidentified person manipulated an entire family to believe a family member had been kidnapped for ransom by keeping a mother and daughter tied up on the phone.

A local dad called Mansfield Police just after noon, reporting his adult daughter had been kidnapped. His wife rushed out of the house after taking a phone call from what appeared to be her daughter’s phone number, from an unidentified person claiming to have kidnapped her daughter.

The father’s calls and texts to his daughter’s phone went unanswered. Her employer said they had not seen or heard from her. The father then logged in to the family’s iCloud account and tracked their daughter’s phone to the Walmart parking lot in Bellingham.

Bellingham and Medway Police shortly after located the daughter’s car, unoccupied in the parking lot.

The mother was on her way to the Walmart in Walpole prepared to send money to the alleged kidnapper from Western Union, when Walpole Police intercepted her.

The daughter had been located inside the Bellingham Walmart, on the phone with another set of alleged kidnappers — from a number appearing to be her mother’s — prepared to send money from Western Union for her mother’s safety.

Mansfield Police said scams like these are possible because of readily available technology that allows scammers to "spoof" people’s phone numbers.

"By keeping both parties on the phone, the scammers prevented each person from being able to confirm the other’s safety," police said in a Facebook post.

Mansfield Police also warn area residents of these kinds of scams, and encourage people to warn their families as well. They advised Mansfield residents to file a report if they lose money or compromise personal information as a result of a scam.

© WLNE-TV / ABC6 2017