Bay Area man falls victim to ‘emergency scam’, wires $600 to stranger claiming to have kidnapped daughter

It was a phone call that Eric from Pinellas County will never forget. He's asked us not to use his last name but he does want you to know his story. 

"So that’s when I said, ‘You're kidnapping my daughter?’ He’s like yeah, man this is serious," Eric recalled. "He puts her on the phone and it’s her saying, she's crying, weeping and she says, ‘Pa, I’m sorry,’ and he snatches the phone off her," he said. 

Soon he would be wiring a complete stranger $600. It all started Friday night. Eric is A DJ and was working at a wedding when he got a call from a number from Mexico. The caller had an accent and claimed to have just been involved in a crash with Eric's daughter. The caller also claimed to have 10 kilos of cocaine in his car and began making dangerous threats. 

"At this point, I’m numb and I have tunnel vision I’m trying to get my daughter out of that situation," he told Fox 13. 

What Eric didn't realize was none of it was real. He was caught up in the middle of what the Better Business Bureau calls an "emergency scam." It's one of the most common types of scams out there and it is designed to prey on the victim's emotions, especially under stress. 

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"Anytime you receive a phone call from someone asking you to act now and send money or wire money, you really want to resist that urge," said Better Business Bureau spokesperson Bryan Oglesby. "You want to hang up the phone and reach out to local family and friends contact them first and just look into the situation." 

Eric says after his ordeal, he wants people to be on alert instead of being next. 

"I feel that that scenario happened to me for a reason and that reason is to let people know this is happening," he said. 

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