WEST FELICIANA PARISH, LA (WAFB) - The West Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office is warning residents of a phone scam that has impacted multiple people in the parish already.
Officials say virtual kidnapping is a phone scam where the caller tries to convince the victim that a loved one has been kidnapped and will be harmed unless a ransom is paid.
The scammer calls from an unfamiliar number and typically claims to have the victim's child or grandchild. Some victims have even reported being able to hear a child screaming in the background.
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"I received a call from a number in Mexico and during the call, there was a child crying and saying, 'Help me! Mom! Mom! Help me,'" said one victim of the scam.
Officials with the FBI say scammers have been trying variations of this phone scam for years.
In one case in Leesburg, Virginia, a mother, who believed her daughter was being held by deadly kidnappers, wired the scammer nearly $10,000. The mother realized the call was a scam when her daughter then texted her during the phone call.
West Feliciana officials say numbers in St. Francisville are being called as well.
Anyone contacted by one of these scammers should not provide them with any money and should instead hang up and report the scammer to the West Feliciana Parish Sheriff's Office at 225-784-3136.