North Texas

Police Warn North Texans of Kidnapping, Extortion Scam

Irving mom gets terrifying phone call

A North Texas woman almost became a victim of a kidnapping scam when she says a caller told her he had taken her mother and sister and demanded money for their release.

"The caller said my name, 'Martha, please help me. They're going to kill me!' I went into panic mode," said Irving resident Martha Segovia. "I thought it was my sister, then a man got on the phone. He said my first and last name. He said he had my mother."

The caller told Segovia she had 30 minutes to come up with $5,000. Segovia's mother lives a few minutes from her home. She drove there to check on her mother.

"I called him a liar because my mom was home. He told me, 'No I have your sister.' I called her and she didn't answer," Segovia said. "My sister eventually called my mom back."

Segovia filed a report with Irving police.

"It's called virtual kidnapping. It's kind of a spin to an old scheme," said Officer Curtis Kaloi. "They're getting social media information and pulling it. They call up a loved one or a parent and usually say we've got your child. We have their cell phone, so don't try to call them or we'll harm them."

Irving has received five kidnapping scam reports since March. Police say the scammers are targeting the Latino community.

"A lot of the times, they'll say, 'We're with the cartels.' What they're trying to do is give credibility to the call," Kaloi said. "They want you to believe they'll cause harm and hurt your family."

No arrests have been made.

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