MCPS Alerts Parents to Virtual Kidnapping Scam

Local parents have reported getting called by strangers demanding ransom money


Published:

Montgomery County Public Schools officials are warning of a virtual kidnapping scam involving phone calls targeting local parents in recent weeks.

Parents are picking up the phone to hear screaming sounds in the background, followed by a message telling them that the speaker  has taken the person’s child, according to an alert from MCPS. The caller threatens to harm the child unless the parent pays a ransom, MCPS reported.

About 10 families have indicated they’d gotten one of the calls in the past three weeks, although there could be more unreported cases, school system spokesman Derek Turner said Wednesday.

MCPS sent out the alert Wednesday to inform parents and invite them to call the school system if they’re ever worried about their child’s safety.

“We just want to be proactive … because I can just imagine being a parent and getting that call,” Turner said.

Reports of the scam began surfacing in the Damascus and Clarksburg area and have since spread to other parts of the county, he added.

To his knowledge, none of the parents has handed over money to the scammers.

MCPS encouraged parents not to wire funds to the scammers and to contact police if they receive one of the calls. School officials also pointed families to FBI information about the extortion scheme.

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