El Paso police say an extortion scheme known as "virtual kidnapping" is targeting physicians in Texas border cities.
Police spokesman Javier Sambrano says the scam that originated in Mexico several years ago begins with a phone message to a doctor with the caller claiming to be from a drug cartel and saying a loved one has been abducted.
Sambrano tells the El Paso Times that in the scheme now circulating, the caller claims the doctor's child had been abducted and demands a ransom be wired to Mexico. The call sometimes includes the voice of a child crying.
Police say the target of the call doesn't realize there's been no abduction until after the money is transferred.
Sambrano hasn't said how many physicians may have been victims of the scam.