Imagine answering your phone and being told that if you don’t send the caller a certain amount of money, they’ll kill your son. It might sound like something terrible or the plot of a Hollywood drama, but the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office says it’s happening right here in Land O’ Lakes.
“They get the victim acting on their emotions to go immediately to a store and send the money instead of calling their relative,” a Sheriff’s Office spokesperson writes in a press release.
In recent incidents, the callers have told victims that a family member was involved in a traffic accident in which they were at fault. In one case the caller told a man that he was holding his son in his basement and if his demands weren’t met, he would “bury him in a hole.” In that case, the victim was with his brother who was able to contact family members and discover that no one was actually being held hostage.
In another case, a woman in Land O’ Lakes wired $300 to an account before she realized that it was a scam.
If you get a call like this, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office says you should:
- Try to contact the family member first
- Record the phone number of the incoming call
- Contact law enforcement, so they can conduct an investigation.
- Not send money
Deputies ask that even if you are able to contact your family member, you still file a report with the Sheriff’s Office so that they can conduct an investigation.