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West Hartford Resident Scammed by ‘Grandson Kidnapped’ Scheme, Police Issue Warning

Image provided by West Hartford Police

West Hartford Police were notified by a resident that their spouse was following the instruction of ‘kidnappers’ and giving them money.

By Ronni Newton

West Hartford Police received a report Sunday from a resident informing them that a spouse was responding to a request to pay a ransom for release of their grandson, and police are warning residents to be skeptical of calls from people alleging that relatives have been kidnapped or arrested.

According to police, a report was received at 12:42 p.m. Sunday with a complaint that a spouse had received a call on a cellphone from “individuals who he believed had kidnapped his grandson.” The cellphone call had been received about an hour earlier, police said, and the caller said that the grandson “had been abducted, had been harmed, and was being held for ransom.”

Police said that one spouse left the house to follow the “kidnappers” instructions – which included going to different stores and sending them money “to secure the release of their grandson.”

Police did not find out what was happening until about an hour after the spouse started following the instructions, and police were able to track down the victim in the parking lot of a shopping area.

According to police, the victim sent the “kidnappers” several thousand dollars through electronic services MoneyGram, RIA Finnancial Services, and Western Union. Police were able to intervene and convince the victim to cancel two of the transactions, but police said that one transaction, for about $700, went through.

Police said they are continuing to investigate the incident, and have not yet identified the scammer(s).

Police issued a warning to the public, reminding them to be skeptical of calls that claim relatives have been kidnapped or arrested in another state or country.

“Such scams are not uncommon, and often times the victims themselves provide the perpetrators with enough information to make the threats seem legitimate. If possible, call/text the relatives in question to determine if the threats are at all credible. If similar calls are received, do not mention the names/genders/ages or other descriptive qualities of the relatives in question,” police stated.

Anyone who believes they have been a victim should contact West Hartford Police at 860-523-5203.

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