NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - People looking to take advantage of others are running a scheme where unsuspecting victims are told their loved ones' lives are at risk, according to deputies.
"We want our residents to know about it and hang up on them," St. Tammany Parish Sheriff spokesman George Bonnett said.
Dozens of complaints have flooded the Sheriff's Office about the latest scare tactic used, and people have already fallen victim.
"If somebody is trying to make the person on the other end of the phone fearful that there is going to be some legal consequence or some harm to their family, and they are promising to make that go away for some immediate cash payment over the phone, it's a scam," Bonnett said.
The scammers are usually from outside the country, but with Internet providers, the criminals are able to get a disposable cell phone that has a local number.
"I was sitting in a doctor's office and I got a phone call saying my son was in an accident," one woman who nearly fell for the scam told WAFB News. The woman claimed, "the guy panicked because he was on probation and put a gun to his head and kidnapped him and he is holding him hostage until I bring him his money for his bumper."
According to deputies, the crooks want the person on the other line to send the money in the form of what's called a green dot card.
The card uses an ID number and PIN to transfer money without banking information being exchanged.