MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Memphis Police are warning the public about an extortion scam that uses a fake kidnapping and spoofed phone number to trick victims.
Police said Saturday, June 5th, the received two reports of the scam in Memphis.
The first victim told investigators that the day before, on Friday, June 4th, she got a call from her mother’s phone number. She said a man on the other end told her he had kidnapped her mom and demanded $1,000 or she would be killed. The victim told police she could hear a woman screaming and crying in the background and thought it was her mother.
The daughter told police the man wanted $1,000 sent through Venmo, Cash App, or PayPal, and gave her several names to send the money to. She said he then raised the ransom to $1,300.
The woman told police she tried several times but failed to send the money to the man, and finally texted a photo of her credit card to the number (which, as she had said before, was her mother’s number.)
The victim told police that’s when she got a call from her mother asking why she had texted her the credit card photo. Her mom told her she had been at a concert and was fine, and that’s when the woman realized she had been scammed. The victim told investigators the transactions ended up going through and she lost $1,300.
Police said that same day, they got another call with identical threats and demands. That victim told police she called the police in Georgia and they went to her mother’s home to verify her safety.
No one has been arrested.
Anyone with information is asked to call Crime Stoppers at 901-528-CASH.