Chief of Police
45 Center Street
Burlington, MA 01803
For Immediate Release
Monday, Aug. 22, 2016
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Burlington Police Provide Tips on How to Protect Yourself, Family from Kidnapping Scam After Incident Last Week
BURLINGTON — Chief Michael Kent and the Burlington Police Department would like to warn residents of a new kidnapping scam after a local mother and her son were tricked into thinking the other one had been kidnapped for ransom last week.
On Wednesday, Aug. 17 just before 4 p.m., a local woman arrived at the police station, claiming that a kidnapper had called her demanding ransom money for her son. Police were able to ping the son’s cell phone to Billerica, where Billerica Police aided in confirming his safety.
Upon speaking with the son, police learned the callers also attempted to scam him, leading him to believe that his mother had been taken hostage. The callers apparently recorded both voices and played them back to the other party to verify their claim.
The son did wire transfer money to the callers. After learning he was scammed, the son attempted to cancel the transaction. In an attempt to buy time, the scammers reported a false weapons threat at the money transfer location so that the victim could not stop the transfer.
Police believe that scammers identified the two involved parties as mother and son through personal information on social media accounts.
“In the past year, phone scams have become more calculated, causing people to fear for the lives of their loved ones and, in turn, become a victim of the scam,” Chief Kent said. “We urge all community members to think critically when they receive one of these phone calls, and call the police if you are being scammed.”
The Burlington Police Department offers the following tips to anyone who receives a call from someone claiming to have kidnapped a family member or loved one:
- Keep calm and THINK — kidnapping is a difficult crime to execute, and is not common in Burlington or surrounding areas.
- Get help right away — contact friends or relatives, and call the police.
- Ask for proof that your loved one is alive — ask to speak to your loved one directly or for a picture to be sent to you via text or email.
- Keep the caller talking — the more you can stall for time, the better.
- Never send money overseas.
For more information and tips from the Burlington Police Department on kidnapping scams, click here.