BEVERLY HILLS—A Beverly Hills mother was the target of a ransom scam when she received a call from an unknown number claiming that her daughter had been kidnapped.
The mother, who wished to remain anonymous, received the call on August 5 outside Beverly Hills City Hall. The caller told her that they had her 20-year-old daughter. She then reportedly heard her daughter “hysterically crying, screaming, out of breath, like she’s in duress,” she told NBCLA. “I screamed so loudly that I couldn’t breathe, and the more he told me to calm down, I wanted to shoot him, I wanted to kill him.”
The alleged kidnapper told her to go to the bank to withdraw money in exchange for her daughter. Following their demands, the mother went to the Bank of America at the intersection of Beverly and Wilshire Boulevards.
Before withdrawing the ransom money, the victim was able to alert city officials to the situation by waving them down and communicating by writing on a slip of paper. The Beverly Hills Police Department was contacted at 1:30 p.m. about the situation. Once police arrived, she gave the officers her daughter’s cell phone number. When the officers called, her daughter answered calmly. They were able to determine that her daughter had not been kidnapped.
There have been multiple reports of unknown numbers calling victims and claiming that their loved ones are in danger in order to extort money. Police suspect that the mother’s experience may be part of a nationwide scam.
In June, Beverly Hills residents saw a sudden rise in a different type of phone scam, where scammers would “cold call” residents and pose as the Internal Revenue Service, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, or law enforcement. Using the last four digits of the victim’s social security number, these scammers would tell victims that they were “behind in their taxes or water bills, or that a family member is in jail and needs bail money,” the Beverly Hills Police Department told My News LA.
Scammers would then threaten with jail time or a “lack of services” and demand on-the-spot payment via debit card or wire transfer.
Those who had a family member in jail were convinced that their family member would otherwise not be released.
If you believe that you have been the victim of a phone scam call the Beverly Hills Police Department at (310) 550-4951.