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Police warn of scammers posing as kidnappers

Police in Southern Oregon are warning people to beware of a wave of terrifying — but fake — calls in which scammers pose as kidnappers.

Jackson County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Mike Moran said multiple police departments have received reports of “frightening but pathetic” international calls to local numbers. Each report involves threatening messages, demand for a ransom and horrifying sounds.

No one has yet been swindled locally, but one person targeted had been on their way to the bank before figuring out the call was a fake, and that the loved one was safe.

“In the background you hear a female screaming,” Moran said. “They’re quite convincing, and they’re disturbing and it’s hard to hang up on those types of calls.”

Moran said the sheriff’s office and police in Medford, Central Point and Ashland have also taken reports of the scam calls.

Anyone who gets a similar call should simply hang up and try not to interact with the scammers. And definitely don’t send the scammers money. Because the calls come from international numbers, it’s nearly impossible for local investigators to track suspects down, police said.