Virtual kidnappers targeting San Diego families

Threatening to kill hostages if families don't pay
Posted at 11:07 PM, Sep 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-22 02:25:16-04

Virtual kidnappers targeted two Chula Vista families overnight within hours of each other.

In both cases, the mothers got a phone call from a Spanish-speaking man claiming to have kidnapped her daughter and demanding ransom, or else he would kill the daughter.

The man telling one of the mothers, “You’re going to find her cut in pieces on the street,” her daughter told 10News.

“My mom believed it,” the woman said. She does not want us to use her name.

Her mother got the call at 1 a.m. Wednesday on her landline. Her father called her on his cellphone. She was safe at home, sleeping.

The man on the phone demanded $2,000, while a woman was heard screaming in the background, she said.

“There was a lady in the background and my mom said that the lady was like, ‘Mom, mom they put me into a van, pay the man or else he said he is going to kill me,’ but the lady was screaming, my mom thought it was me,” she said.

An elderly Chula Vista woman and her daughter were also targeted hours earlier.

Chula Vista Police Lt. Fritz Reber said the virtual kidnapper demanded the woman pay $1,000.

The elderly woman told a neighbor to call police, then went to get money from a bank at Chula Vista Center.

"She says 'call 911 because these guys, they have my daughter,'” the neighbor told 10News.

Police say the scammers wanted the woman to drive the money to Tijuana and drop it off.

But the scammers conned the daughter too, police said.

“The daughter believed that the mom was kidnapped while she was at the bank getting money out herself,” Lt. Reber said.

Police said the scammer’s phone number was untraceable.

The scammers may be getting people’s names and numbers online, police said.

In both cases, the scammer spoke Spanish and demanded small amounts of money, one or two thousand dollars.

“In any case, don’t do anything they ask you to do,” Lt. Reber said, adding people should first call the supposedly kidnapped loved one, and then call 911.

“It’s really scary and I just want to tell the viewers not to give in,” the daughter of the victim said.