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August 8, 2020

Watsonville police warn of ‘virtual kidnapping’ scam

WATSONVILLE—Watsonville Police are warning the public about the increasing prevalence of virtual kidnapping scams, in which callers claim to have kidnapped a family member and demand a ransom payment.

“Within the last week, officers have received nearly a half dozen calls from virtual kidnapping victims,” WPD spokeswoman Michelle Pulido said. “Some have lost thousands of dollars after being scammed.”

According to Pulido, the scammers randomly call a person and claim to have kidnapped one of their family members. Their sole intention is to get the person to wire them money to cover the ransom.

All of the calls have come from Mexico, Pulido said.

Anyone who receives such a call should not provide the callers with any personal information or money. Instead, hang up and call the police.

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