Fallbrook family falls victim to virtual kidnapping scam - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Fallbrook family falls victim to virtual kidnapping scam

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SAN DIEGO (CBS 8) - A Fallbrook couple fell victims to a kidnapping scam, and they now want to warn parents after the terrifying call their daughter had been kidnapped.

Chris Evans and Cathy Evans fell victims Tuesday afternoon to a kidnapping scam. They received a call that their daughter had been kidnapped and the only way to see her alive was to pay up.

"When you have a call coming and you think there is a high percentage this could be real, you're not going to be as rational," said Chris Evans.

The scam is called virtual kidnapping.

The crooks call numbers, usually at random, demanding money for the freedom of a kidnapped loved one.

Cathy Evans believed the screams coming form the other side of the phone were her daughters. She panicked and was willing to pay the $1,500 ransom.

"All she heard was this screaming, screaming for her life in shear terror," said Sheriff's Spokeswoman Jan Caldwell. 

Cathy was able to trick the kidnappers into letting her off the phone and called her husband. He called 911, which is exactly what detectives said he should have done.

Detectives said, if you get the call, try and stay calm.

"Ask to speak to your loved one. They're going to refuse that, so then tell me what my loved one is wearing. Tell me if they have any marks or tattoos," said Caldwell. 

In the case of the Evans, the scammers knew their 'virtual victim,' Cayla, had tattoos. Something detectives said, could have been found out through social media.

Where was Cayla during the ordeal?

The 'real' Cayla was napping through the whole thing, and with her phone on silent, she missed calls from parents and detectives.

"It just broke my heart and I knew I had to get home as fast as I could. It was just an experience I would never want to repeat," said Cathy. 

Cayla said she now has a code word with her family so if she is ever in trouble, her parents will know.

The Sheriff's Department said to pay attention to area codes when an unfamiliar number calls. They said most of the calls come from South Africa and Mexico.

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