Union City woman warns others after nearly falling victim to kidnapping scam

Saturday, July 9, 2016
Union City woman warns others after nearly falling victim to kidnapping scam
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Union City police are warning people about a kidnapping scam.

UNION CITY, Calif. (KGO) -- Police are warning people about a kidnapping scam.

Someone has been calling people who live in Union City. A mom and a daughter received two separate phone calls that each of them believing the other was kidnapped and in danger. It was all part of an elaborate scam.

"'We have your daughter, Roberta, and she was walking on the street to her friends house, and we kidnapped her. I kidnapped her," Gloria said.

Gloria is still afraid for her safety, she asked for her name to be changed. She got a call at her desk at work on Wednesday, and didn't recognize the number.

"If I hear you talking to somebody or trying to contact the police, I'm going to start chopping fingers off or slicing her ear off," Gloria said.

It's the beginning of an elaborate scam.

Gloria's daughter Roberta said she was actually fine, in fact she was also on the phone with someone who told her her mom had been kidnapped. She gave them her mom's cellphone number, and they played off one another's fears. At one point Gloria thought she could hear her daughter speak.

"'Mommy, mommy, please listen to what this man says and do everything he tells you to do. Please mommy they'll hurt me,'" Gloria said.

Gloria rushed to a Chase Bank.

"On those little check stubs, I started writing, help me, there's a kidnapper on my phone," Gloria said.

The teller called for help. Meanwhile, Gloria was still on the phone. Police arrived as she was leaving the bank and followed her to a Western Union. She was told to wire the money to a woman in Mexico.

Gloria says she was told to get her purse and keys, go the bank and wire money via Western Union. Then, she got another call, this time from Union City police saying they had her daughter. She describes the relief.

"I hugged her and she cried. We really thought we were really never going to see each other again. It's hard to believe, it's really hard to believe," Gloria said.

Police say it's more than just traumatic.

"It's also kind of a strain on police resources, we ended up with almost every officer that was available out there trying to figure out this case, we were at three different locations trying to figure it out," said a Union City police officer.

Roberta says the experience haunts her. She still thinks she hears the scammer's voice.

"At some point I catch myself looking up and hearing him talk," Roberta said.

Union City police say this is the second time this scam was attempted in the last three weeks and they're seeing more reports on social media.

They say if you get a strange call, do not give out personal information or the information of your family members. Immediately call police.