Springfield police: Scammers, targeting Spanish speakers, claim to have kidnapped loved ones and seek thousands of dollars for their ‘release’
SPRINGFIELD – Police warn that scammers, targeting Spanish-speaking families here, are calling to claim that they have kidnapped loved ones and seeking thousands of dollars for their release.
Sgt. John M. Delaney said police have run across four instances of this scam over the last three days.
“Don’t buy into this,” Delaney said. “It’s just some people that are trying to get some money through a scam.”
Delaney said a woman contacted police Thursday, convinced that gang members had kidnapped her brother and were holding him at an address on Fernbank Road. She was poised to wire $10,000 via Western Union to secure his “release.”
“She was panicking, telling me that she was going to send the money,” Delaney said, adding that the brother, who could not be reached by his cell phone, showed up safe and sound around 4 p.m., unaware that he had been supposedly kidnapped.
Springfield resident Jeremy Marmal said he ran afoul of the scammers on Friday afternoon – or, perhaps better said, his family did.
Marmal, who works at EcoBuilding Bargains on Warwick Road, said a scammer called his step-father early Friday afternoon and “threatened him over the phone. He said he has me and my car. He said if he doesn’t give up a thousand dollars he is going to kill me,” Marmal said.
Marmal, a truck loader for EcoBuilding Bargains, was working on a truck out in the Berkshires and initially unreachable by phone. He later learned of his supposed ‘kidnapping’ a short time later when he regained his cell service and called his girlfriend.
“She was crying hysterically,” he said.
The scammer told Marmal’s step-father that they would call back an hour later with information on what to do with the money but they never called back, Marmal said. Unlike some of the other recently reported scams, this particular scammer spoke English, he said. entire article masslive