Two consecutive incidents happened recently in Massachusetts subjecting two mothers under terrifying situations allegedly involving their kids.
Theresa, a mother from Revere, received a call in the middle of a snow storm in December. The caller said his cousin has the pistol to her daughter’s head and that they would kill her if she will not cooperate and follow their instructions. “He said, ‘Listen to me carefully, I have your daughter.’ He knew everything about her,” says a Revere mom named Theresa. The caller was asking for $1,000.
Similar incident happened to Laura while she was at work Monday last week in Lynnfield. She received a call informing her that her 14-year old son damaged his car in an accident and that he would be shot unless she transfers $2,000.
In both situations, the scam artists knew about the victims’ family details, like names, the kids’ school, outfit and physical apperance of the “alleged” kidnapped son and daughter.
Theresa said that it was the most horrible three and a half hours of her life, an emotional torture while listening to the caller’s voice giving her directions to locate the nearest Western Union that might be open during a storm. “He said ‘My cousin is holding a pistol to her head right now. We had a little accident last night. My cousin is a fugitive and he wants a thousand dollars for the damages. I need you to go to a Western Union immediately and transfer the money.’” Prepared to do anything that could rescue her daughter, Theresa immediately sent the money to two people in Springfield. She phoned her daughter afterwards and knew that she was scammed when she heard the voice of her daughter on the other line. Revere police did an investigation and arrested two people who received the money. Jennifer Rodriguez and Jose Carrasquillo of Springfield are both charged with Extortion through the Threat of Bodily Injury.
But it was a different ending for Laura, the mother from Lynnfield, because her co-workers called the police while she was on the phone with the scammer. The authorities came to her while she was filling out the forms about to do the money transfer, telling her that all three of her sons were accounted for and that it was just a scam. “Just complete relief. All I cared about was that my kids were OK,” she said. Laura thought it was a sign of relief until the con artist struck again, sending her an SMS that he would kill her whole family. Laura knows she gave her address during the conversation and this terrifies them all the more, feeling insecure and vulnerable everyday.
The city police warned its residents to be aware of the problem. They also believed that the scammer gathered the information on the victims’ families from Facebook and other social media.