Boston police are warning the public about a phone scam in which strangers claim a loved one is being held captive and can only be released once the victim pays a sum of money.
In almost all cases, the scam comes from an unknown number calling or texting the victim, police said. The caller states the loved one is being held captive after being in a car accident resulting in property damage the loved one is unable to pay for.
Police say they have taken several reports over the past few weeks of residents targeted by this type of scam. The caller often knows basic details of the victim’s life, including names of family members, names of employers, and school information. Victims are often instructed not to call the police.
This is the latest instance in a rash of similar scams. Just last week, Secretary of State William F. Galvin warned of a similar scam in which grandparents received calls about a grandchild in trouble with the law in a foreign country. The caller would then demand money for the loved one’s safe return.
Anyone who experiences a suspicious call is encouraged to gather as many details as possible as well as attempt to contact the loved one who is allegedly in danger to confirm their safety, police said. People contacted by scammers should also report the call, including the number, to police.