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Police warn public of “kidnapping” phone scam

By Carla O'Day

The Reno Police Department alerted the public Wednesday about a new telephone call scam that involves an anonymous person telling victims they’ve kidnapped one of their family members.

Police said the caller claims they have the victim’s family member, with the most recent case being identified as the victims’ child.

“The unknown person then demands money be paid to them in exchange for the family member,” Reno police said on Twitter. “Ultimately in this case, the victims’ children were accounted for and safe.”

The suspect’s phone number came back to an inactive landline, police said.

Police say using the following strategies can help people avoid scams:

  • Don’t answer or return calls you aren’t expecting.
  • Don’t identify family members by name.
  • Use voicemail to screen calls.
  • If a caller asks for payment with retail or gaming gift cards, money wires or to mail cash, hang up.
  • Check privacy settings on social media accounts. The more information one makes available, the more information scammers can use to convince them a scam is real.

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