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State College Police Investigate and Foil Kidnapping Scam

by on March 14, 2013 11:43 AM

State College Police say a local resident was the target of a phony kidnapping scheme but it turns out there was no kidnapping. Investigators say a con artist phoned the victim yesterday with a convincing story about a relative who had been abducted and was in danger. The caller reportedly demanded a $1,500 ransom.

Police say the scammer appeared to work off a basic script, adding details as the victim of the scheme continued to provide information about the relative who was supposedly being held. That "script" involved a motor vehicle accident in which an outraged car owner abducted, beat and threatened to kill the relative if cash for repairs was not wired immediately.

Officers were able to find the relative and confirm there had been no kidnapping. Investigators traced the phone call to Puerto Rico. They say the bogus kidnapper used a prepaid cell phone to place the call. 

Police advise anyone who receives a phone call like this not to panic. You should call 911 ask police to confirm the safety of anyone who's supposedly been kidnapped. Police said this type of scam has been in existence for several years in other parts of the country.

Laura Nichols is a news reporter and @LC_Nichols on Twitter.
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