Hostage scam targeting parents in northern Utah

Hostage scam targeting parents in Northern Utah (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) Multiple law enforcement agencies in Northern Utah were involved in what appeared to be a hostage situation Tuesday -- but then it turned out to be a scam.

It’s a frightening hostage scam targeting several parents, a couple have even made it to ATM withdrawing thousands in cash, fortunately none of the money was given to the perpetrators. But police want residents to be aware there may be someone locally a part of the scheme and they don’t want anyone to fall for victim of the scam

Chief Maxwell Jackson is with Harrisville, Utah, one of the agencies that assisted.

“When you hear a child screaming in the background you’re going to react like anyone else would and do whatever you can to see them get back safe,” he said.

Jackson said a mother of a Morgan High School student got a call her daughter was being held hostage.

“Led the mom to believe that the daughter was in their custody and was going to be killed unless they came up with the money,” Jackson said.

He said the mother was told to withdraw cash and take it to a local mall.

“They're going to have to have someone local to pick up the funds if they drop them off.,” Jackson said. Fortunately we are told officers were able to step in.

This was just one of several incidents in the last 24 hours in Northern Utah. Jackson said one father got the call his daughter was taken hostage Tuesday morning. Jackson believes the scammers are getting information from social media through Facebook and Linkedin.

“They know enough about you and your family from social media to pull it off,” he said. The father went went to the ATM, withdrew the cash, but decided to go home just to check, and found his daughter was safe at home.

“It’s kind of the ultimate scam because you’re hitting people at the heart of the very people they love the most,” Jackson said.

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