A Key Largo man was scammed out of $2,500 because he believed his wife was kidnapped.
The 30 year old man told Deputy Gil Gonzalez he received a call Friday at 10 a.m. from a man – “Mike” – who claimed to have his wife; Mike said the victim’s wife was involved in a car crash and had killed Mike’s son in the crash. Mike said after the crash he kidnapped her. He claimed to be a drug dealer and said he did not want to involve law enforcement. Mike said he was keeping the victim’s wife in the trunk of a car and would kill her if the victim did not pay him $2,500.00. Mike repeatedly played the victim an audio tape over the phone that sounded like his wife screaming. The caller instructed him to wire money to two different people in Puerto Rico.
The scammer kept the victim on the phone, insisting if he hung up he would kill his wife. The victim walked to a nearby grocery store and withdrew money from his bank account and did what he was instructed to do.
After the money was paid, the scammer hung up the phone. At that point, the victim received text messages from family members and from his wife letting him know she was fine and he realized he had been scammed.
Deputy Gonzalez spoke to the victim’s wife and she said she received similar calls that same day from a man claiming to have kidnapped her husband. She said she told him she didn’t believe him and hung up the phone.
This scam is a common one and a number of other people in the Keys have also been victimized in a similar fashion. The scammers always claim they have a family member and usually threaten to kill or injure that family member in order to get compliance. They also always insist the victim stay on the phone the entire time because they do not want to allow the victim to talk to anyone who might realize it is a scam. They ask that money be wired to a location outside the United States; sometimes they also ask the victims to purchase green dot or other types of cash cards as payment.