Local authorities warn of kidnapping and ransom scam

Local

KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — Police are warning of a scam after several locals reported being targeted.

Both the Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office and Kingsport Police Department issued scam alerts Friday night.

The agencies say scammers have been calling residents and claiming to have kidnapped one of their family members. During the phone call, screaming can be heard in the background and the scammer tells the potential victim that it is from the kidnapped family member.

The scam artist will then threaten to harm the hostage and demand a ransom for their release. The scammer usually demands a transfer of funds using Western Union or something similar.

“Citizens are cautioned that if they receive such a call, it is almost certainly a scam,” the Kingsport Police Department said in a release. “Due to originating telephone number altering technology that is readily available, it is highly doubtful that the individuals carrying out these scams are local, and entirely possible that they may not even be operating from within the United States.”

Police encourage anyone who receives such a call to not give any funds and report the call to local police.

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