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Sheriff's Office: Be aware of kidnapping, ransom scams

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) - The Onondaga County Sheriff's Office is warning the public of an ongoing scam in which the caller claims to have abducted a loved one and is demanding ransom.

A viewer reached out to NewsChannel 9, saying she recently received a call from someone who claimed to have abducted her 18-year-old daughter following a crash on South Salina Street -- demanding money for the daughter's release.

The woman's daughter was contacted and is safe, the Sheriff's Office says.

The Sheriff's Office offered the following tips if you receive a call like this: 

  • Do not act quickly: The caller is playing on the family's emotions. They want them to act quickly and deliver the money before calling anyone (family or police).
  • Reach out: Do some legwork and contact the person that was supposedly "abducted." Contact friends, neighbors, co-workers-- anyone that can verify that their loved one is ok and not abducted.
  • Be patient: We cannot always get in touch with our loved ones the second we want to. That is why reaching out to others that can help the Sheriff's Office verify that our loved ones are ok is important.

If they aren't sure what to do, call 911 to generate a report just in case it is not a scam.

Since the 911 Center is aware of this scam, they may be able to give families some suggestions on ways to determine if the threat is a real one.

If police are dispatched, they may be able to help verify the safety of a loved one as well.

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