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Police Warn About "Hostage Scam"

Police claim a new scam that involves reports of a loved on being taken hostage is becoming more popular in our area.
Mahanoy City, Schuylkill County - Imagine getting a call letting you know that a loved one is in danger and unless you shell out cash that loved one will be hurt.

According to police that call is part of a scam and at least six people have fallen victim to it.

"This one is scary, more frightful, and it's putting more pressure on you," Alan Todd, a Mahanoy City, resident said.

Todd told Eyewitness News he's heard of all types of scams, but never heard of the "hostage scam".

The Mahanoy City Police Department has a warning about the scam on their Facebook page.

Police say the suspect makes a call claiming a relative of yours is in danger, and claims you have to pay $2,000 or your loved one will be hurt.

What has police concerned is that in one case the suspect had personal information on their potential victim. Information such as a family  member's name, where they worked, and their cell phone number.

"I would probably believe it," Lillian Matias, a Pottsville resident, said. "If they tell me where they work, their phone numbers and everything. Yeah, iId probably believe it then."

Police have traced the calls to Puerto Rico and determined they were made using a pre-paid cell phone. Although the calls are being made out of the country the number appears as a local number on caller ID.

"It would be scary, but without having actual proof of the situation I'd be thinking before giving any money," Tony Crockett, a Mahanoy City resident, said.

Police told Eyewitness News that if someone gets a call they shouldn't be afraid to ask questions because the suspects want to force you into a quick decision.

They also said if you feel like it's scam you need to take notes, such as what the person sounds like and they number they used.

Police are still trying to figure out how the suspects are getting their victim's personal information.
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