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Authorities warn against kidnapping scam in Ottawa County

Miami Kidnap Scam
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Miami Kidnap Scam

MIAMI, Okla. - A kidnapping scam in Miami, Oklahoma puts parents on edge and authorities on high alert.

Over the weekend, a father received a call from a hispanic man who called himself "Pedro."

The caller claimed to have the man's daughter held captive and demanded a ransom be wired to him immediately, or else.

The victim's identity is being withheld while the case is being investigated, but parents in Ottawa County share their sypmathy and concerns.

"It can happen to anybody. I got scammed when I was a solder at Fort Louis, Washington by a company that went in and preyed on new, young soldier familes and they'd get them set up on an allotment. You have to pay the allotment or you get in trouble with your commander," explained John Jenkins, a father in Miami, Oklahoma.

Cyber crimes are growing, but some are hitting closer to home. Authorities are warning the public in Ottawa County about a kidnapping scam that gave one father the fright of his life.

"He didn't know what to do. He was trying to get to a location where he could actually wire money to this individual," explained Ottawa County Sheriff Jeremy Floyd.

The father was told to drive to a Wal-Mart to wire $1,000 to a Texaco station in Mexico. He was told that harm would come to his daughter if he hung up or called police.
 
"He played a recording of a female and it sounded like what the victim told me, it sounded like his daughter. It says, 'Help, Daddy.'"

Jenkins sympathizes for the father.

"It would be a state of shock, especially if I didn't know where my kid was at the time."

Luckily, the father wasn't alone when the call came in. His friend contacted Sheriff Floyd who was able to confirm that the man's daughter was safe at work. Floyd says this scam was especially convincing.

"Usually, foreigners that actually do these scams, they don't know our area unless information might've popped up on the internet, or something like that, but he he knew the information, details, certain buildings..."

Floyd is now awaiting a response on the case from the FBI. In the meantime, parents like Jenkins hope they never get that call.

"Total powerlessness. Gut-wrenching. It makes you feel like everything just turns to water. There's nothing you can do."

The call actually pinged in Australia.

Sheriff Floyd is asking the public to be alert and to report any suspicious or threatening calls to the authorities, documenting as much information as possible.

Floyd also advises against answering any international calls or numbers you don't recognize.

While this case was a scam, kidnapping threats should always be taken seriously.

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