A phone scammer in California is calling people, pretending to have kidnapped their family members and demanding ransom money.
The scam has been reported in Folsom and Milpitas, KTXL News reported. The news station acquired a recording of one of the phone calls in Citrus Heights.
The victim, who asked not to be identified, received the phone call on Sept. 9. She put the caller on speaker and her friend, Cheryl McDaniels, made the recording.
"I don't know who it is. It's one of my girls. He's going to kill them," a panicked voice is heard saying in the recording.
"If you don't tell me who the f*** you're with right now, I'm going to f***ing put a bullet in her head," the caller is heard saying.
The caller claimed to have kidnapped the woman’s daughter. He claimed he was going to kill her if she didn’t pay him. He used countdown tactics to scare the victim and had someone pose as her daughter screaming in the background
"You're scaring me and I can't walk. I'm shaking," the victim says in the recording.
McDaniels told the victim not to believe the caller, and call the police. Her daughters were tracked down hours later and were all safe.
"One of my daughters we couldn't reach by phone,” the victim told KTXL. [We] drove up, and I just balled. I came apart.”
The phone number was traced to central Thailand. The phone is no longer in service.
"My legs are shaking so bad,” the victim said. “My whole body's shaking. My voice was shaking.
"You don't know what you're thinking. You don't know what you're doing. And he was hammering, hammering at me, 'Don't talk to anybody. Don't call anybody.’”
The victim said she’s been staying at home and keeping her grandkids close.
"This just needs to get out there because there are parents out there, and grandmothers out there who would just give anything for their kids and not know," said McDaniels.
"These individuals are really working the city," Officer Jack Richter of the Los Angeles Police Department told the Los Angeles Times. They believe the series of kidnapping scams originates from Mexico.
"It's really difficult to find an individual at the end of that wire transfer," Richter added. "Typically it is sent to Mexico. You'll find an agent there shrugging his shoulders."