LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – The Office of the Third Judicial District Attorney in Las Cruces is warning residents of a fake kidnapping ransom scam. They say multiple people have been targeted by scammers in recent weeks.

The scam usually begins with a phone call, the DA’s office said. The caller will claim that one of your family members is being held captive because they saw a crime they weren’t supposed to see. The scammers may even use screaming sounds to help sell the effect. The caller will try to convince you to send money in order to get your family member released.

If you receive such a call, you can notify the Las Cruces Police Department, Doña Ana Sheriff’s Department, or your local law enforcement office. You can also watch for these signs to spot a scam:

  • Incoming calls that are from an outside area code, unavailable, and no caller ID
  • Calls do not come from the alleged kidnapped victim’s phone
  • Callers that go to great lengths to keep you on the phone
  • Calls that threaten or prevent you from calling, locating, and identifying the ‘kidnapped’ victim
  • Ransom money is only accepted via wire transfer service or directed to make money drop

If you receive a call that might be a scam, try to slow the situation down and ask questions that only the supposedly kidnapped victim would know, the DA’s office recommends. You can also try to contact the supposedly kidnapped victim on social media or their phone.