Oxnard Police Department – Incident Press Release
/On 5/18/19, at around 1:40 p.m., officers responded to Vallarta Market, 1050 South A Street, to investigate a report of a kidnapping. A family member of the purported victim reported that the mother of the victim received a call from the suspects stating they kidnapped her daughter. The suspects demanded that the mother wire money to ensure her daughter’s safety. The family informed officers that the mother was currently on her way to Vallarta Market to send money to the suspects. Officers arrived at the market and located both the mother and father in the parking lot. The parents had thousands of dollars in their possession and were preparing to wire the money to the suspects. Officers were eventually able to contact the daughter and confirm that the threats were a phone scam.
The Oxnard Police Department would like to remind the public about this ongoing phone scam. The public is advised to be suspicious of any telephone call where the caller imposes a problem or crisis and the only solution is to electronically transfer money or purchase a prepaid gift card. If you receive a suspicious phone call of this nature, you are encouraged to report it to law enforcement. These fraudulent schemes can be prevented by remaining well informed, so please share this information with your friends, family, and neighbors.
The FBI provides the following prevention tips.
To avoid becoming a victim of this extortion scheme, look for the following possible indicators:
- Incoming calls come from an outside area code
- Calls do not come from the injured or kidnapped victim’s phone
- Callers go to great lengths to keep you on the phone
- Callers prevent you from calling or locating the “kidnapped” victim
- Ransom money is only accepted via wire transfer service
If you receive a phone call from someone who demands payment of a ransom for a kidnapped victim, the following should be considered:
- Try to slow the situation down. Request to speak to the victim directly. Ask, “How do I know my loved one is okay?”
- If they don’t let you speak to the victim, ask them to describe the victim or describe the vehicle they drive, if applicable.
- Listen carefully to the voice of the kidnapped victim if they speak.
- Attempt to call, text, or contact the victim via social media. Request that the victim call back from his or her cell phone.
- While staying on the line with alleged kidnappers, try to call the alleged kidnap victim from another phone.
- To buy time, repeat the caller’s request and tell them you are writing down the demand, or tell the caller you need time to get things moving.
- Don’t directly challenge or argue with the caller. Keep your voice low and steady.
- Request the kidnapped victim call back from his/her cell phone.