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Police In Central N.J. Warn Of Elaborate And Convincing Kidnapping Scam

MONMOUTH JUNCTION, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- South Brunswick Township, N.J., police have warned residents about a fraud being perpetrated in the area, in which a person claims to kidnap a relative and demand ransom by Western Union.

The most recent reported incident was this past Thursday, police said. A father in South Brunswick received a cell phone call saying his son had gotten into a car accident, and the suspect claimed to be holding his son captive until the father paid for vehicle damages through Western Union.

1010 WINS' Gary Baumgarten reports


The caller claimed the man's son was injured and would be taken to the hospital when the payment was received. The caller also claimed to have the son's cell phone and asked the father if he would just like to have the son killed.

The father was on the phone for an hour, and ultimately wired the money. Afterward, the suspect directed the father to go to a certain New Brunswick hospital, and hung up when the father arrived.

The father did not find his son at the hospital, so he called his son's cell phone and found out there was no accident and the whole thing was a scam.

Perth Amboy, N.J., police have reported similar cases in the past several days, and police in Jersey City and Bergen County reported similar scams in September and October, South Brunswick Township police said.

All cases have been deemed similar, in that the area code on the caller ID seems to be from Puerto Rico, police said.

In most cases, the caller demands $1,800.

South Brunswick police have asked residents to be on alert and report any suspicious activity. They say if you get a call, you should call police, not Western Union.

Have you ever encountered a scam like this? Please leave your comments below...

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