PRINCE GEORGE’S, Md. (WJZ) — The Prince George’s County Police Department is warning county residents about a kidnapping scam.

Police said that the scammers call their victims and state that a loved one has been kidnapped. They demand ransom for their safe return.

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A statement from PGPD reads:

“In the past month, we’ve received six reports of this scam. In some cases, the victim has paid the ransom. The ransoms are usually more than $1,000. Ransom payments are to be wired internationally. In five of the reported cases, the scammer has spoken Spanish and has targeted Spanish-speaking victims. We do believe there are likely additional victims who have not yet reported the incident to police.”

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Officials believe that scammers gather personal information about their victims via social media. During the call, the suspects give specific information regarding a loved one including clothing or nicknames.

PGPD is encouraging residents to follow these tips in the event they receive a call:

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  • Try to contact the allegedly kidnapped family member and verify their whereabouts.
  • Immediately also contact and report this incident to the Prince George’s County Police Department, even if you have verified your family member is safe.
  • Save the number they called from.
  • Never pay a ransom unless under the direction of law enforcement.

If you have been a victim of this scam, please contact your local police department or call 911.

CBS Baltimore Staff