Police Chief John Romero said he wants to get the word out to people that this is going on.
“It’s a scam,” he said. “There is no kidnapping here.”
He said the scammers “try to keep the person on phone the entire time they (victims) are taking money out of bank. They keep you on the phone so you can’t confirm the person hasn’t been kidnapped.”
As the discussion goes on, the scammers are “sizing up the person they are calling, based on age and voice.”
In this case, they got Marinez to volunteer her name to them, making it seem as if they knew more about her than they actually did.
“They’ll try it 100 times and get one person,” he said. “Most people hang up, but every now and then you’ll get someone who will listen.”
Marinez was successfully duped, at least for a while.
She said it was the most stressful two-hour call she’s ever had.
“I never faced a situation like that,” she said. “I’m not the kind of person who believes everything, but I believed him.”
She said she couldn’t figure out “how he got my number,” adding, “I only give it to people I know. He said he got it from my father’s cellphone. He said, ‘This is between you and me. I don’t want you calling the police.’ I said, ‘How do I know this isn’t a joke?’ He said, ‘We have your father. He’s in my brother’s apartment. You cannot call the police.’”
And they seemed to have some key details, such as the color of her father’s car, which is blue. However, they didn’t know her father’s name.
The auto shop employee who overheard part of this conversation called police, who arrived at the shop around 10:15 a.m., under the impression that there was an actual kidnapping going on.