FISHERS — Local residents are being targeted by scammers who claim that a loved one has been kidnapped and demand money.
The Fishers Police Department issued a warning about the new round of phone calls on Thursday. These virtual kidnapping calls have been made both locally and nationally.
“Technology is a great thing, but criminals use technology to victimize people every day," Public Information Officer for Fishers Police Sergeant Tom Weger said.
The calls include yelling, screaming, crying, and no proof of life, according to investigators. The scammers will demand money immediately be sent through Zelle or Paypal as a ransom for the release of their family members. The suspect will not allow the alleged victim to speak and will claim they're being held at gunpoint.
If you or someone you know is being targeted by such scams, police recommend you immediately hang up and call 911. Do not make a money transfer until investigators perform a welfare check on the alleged victim.
“These suspects are wanting to cause a great deal of fear and panic, causing the person to make a very quick decision before they can really think about what’s going on," Weger said.
Suspects are using social media to conduct research, so police recommend that people make certain the security settings on their social media accounts are set to the highest security level, locking non-approved friends from viewing their profiles.
“They’re looking at pictures. They’re looking at people that are tagged and friends to try to determine who they want to identify and steal their identity," Weger said.
FPD says a recent victim of this scam had their Facebook account unlocked and viewable to the general public, which allowed suspects to identify friends and family.