Scam­mer bilks Newark woman on April Fools’ Day

Newark Post - - LOCAL NEWS -

A Newark woman fell vic­tim to a scam­mer who claimed to be hold­ing her son for ran­som, po­lice said.

The woman, a 74-year-old res­i­dent of the Woods at Lou­viers neigh­bor­hood, re­ceived the call around 4:45 p.m. on Sun­day, April 1, ac­cord­ing to Lt. Fred Nel­son, a spokesman for the Newark Po­lice De­part­ment.

The vic­tim told po­lice the caller was scream­ing for help and then an­other per­son got on the line and claimed he had at­tacked the woman’s son for not pay­ing a friend’s ran­som. The caller de­manded the woman send money through gift cards.

The woman com­plied but later called her son and re­al­ized it was a scam, said Nel­son, who did not dis­close how much money the woman lost.

The in­ci­dent came shortly af­ter Delaware State Po­lice warned of an in­crease in virtual kid­nap­ping scams in New Cas­tle County.

“Virtual kid­nap­ping is an ex­tor­tion scheme that tricks vic­tims into pay­ing a ran­som to free a fam­ily mem­ber they be­lieve is be­ing threat­ened with vi­o­lence or death,” Mas­ter Cpl. Michael Austin said. “Un­like tra­di­tional ab­duc­tions, virtual kid­nap­pers have not ac­tu­ally kid­napped any­one. In­stead, through de­cep­tions and threats, they co­erce vic­tims to pay a quick ran­som.”

Austin ad­vised re­cip­i­ents of such calls to hang up and never agree to pay a ran­som. Those who be­lieve a real kid­nap­ping has taken place should con­tact po­lice im­me­di­ately.

Any­one with in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing the Newark in­ci­dent should con­tact PFC An­drew Vari at AVari@newark.de.us or 302-366-7100, ext 3486.

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