• Destiny Carter

Ohio authorities warn residents about circulating kidnapping scam

According to an ABC News affiliate located near Cincinnati, authorities are warning residents about a kidnapping scam currently circulating throughout the area. 

Two incidents have been reported to the Boone County Sheriff’s Office, about 20 miles southwest of Cincinnati, just this week. In both, the victims received an incoming phone call from a random number. When answered, the call features the voice of a panicked child saying, “I’m in a white van” and “They have me,” officials said.

In one call, the “kidnapper” told a father, “If you want to see your daughter again, follow my instructions.” When the man finished with the call, he called his wife, and she ensured that their daughter was still at school and safe.

In the other phone call, the “kidnapper” demanded that the mother give him “all the money.” He even threatened to kill her daughter if she hung up or didn’t comply. The mother kept the man on the phone while she met with deputies, who confirmed that her child was at school.

The parents that reported the call described it as “very realistic” and “terrifying.”

Officials advise parents who become targets of the scam to immediately take steps to verify the location of their children and to regularly check social media settings to be sure that sensitive information, such as location, cannot be viewed by the public. Residents are also being advised to stay calm and request to speak to their children directly.