A father was tricked on Wednesday into thinking his daughter, a UConn student, was kidnapped, while the student was being told her brother was being held hostage, police said.
The father, from New York, got a call on Wednesday from men saying that they had his daughter and demanded money. What the man didn't know was that his daughter was fine, and in fact, police said, being scammed herself.
The student had also gotten a call saying that her brother was being held hostage and immediately the woman attempted to wire money to the callers. The men on the phone told both victims that their relatives would've been hurt if they didn't get their money.
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The father stayed on the phone with the presumed "kidnappers" and drove to the police station in Adams, Massachusetts. He told police he believed his daughter was kidnapped and that the men on the phone had personal information about his family.
When Adams Police sent a "ping" to his daughter's cellphone, they determined she was in Oxford, on Old Webster Road, and police were dispatched to that location.
At the time, the UConn student was at a Honey Farms on Sutton Avenue, telling an employee she was looking for a Chase bank, while at the same time passing a note that implied someone was going to hurt her family, according to Oxford Police, who were first informed by UConn police because the same employee had them called first. The student seemed distraught, the employee said.
Police went to Honey Farms and saw the student sitting in her car, visibly upset. Approached by an officer, she stayed on her phone and whispered that the men on the other line had her brother and were going to hurt him if she did not wire them money.
Oxford Police were able to confirm that the student's brother was safe and hung up the woman's cell phone. Police also notified the student's father that she was not kidnapped.
At this point, the woman explained what had happened, according to Oxford police.
She said she was told her brother had hit a child with his car and they were going to hurt him if they were note wired $1,000. When she could only wire $300 from a Wal-Mart, she was instructed to find a Chase and send the rest of the money to Puerto Rico. The caller also demanded she buy $280 in cellphone minutes and give the PIN to him in order to recharge his phone.
The caller then demanded that the student call her father and tell him she had been kidnapped in order to extort money from him as well. If she didn't do so, she said, they would've hurt or even killed her brother.
The scam is currently under investigation by the Oxford Police. Massachusetts State Police and Adams Police helped locating the student.