New Haven man almost scammed by call he thought was from his mother

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NEW HAVEN–Phone scams are no joke, and they are as prevalent as ever.

FOX 61 has reported on recent kidnapping scams, including one in Darien, but an incident that occurred last weekend took the preying on victims’ fears to a new level.

New Haven police say that last weekend a man was sitting in his office when he got a call from his mother’s cell phone number. When he answered, a strange caller was on the other end and said he had been involved in a car crash with the victim’s mother. The caller demanded money immediately, and said he was holding the mother hostage and would kill her if the victim didn’t pay up right away for the damages to the man’s car.

The victim was terrified, especially because the phone call came from his mother’s phone–or at least he thought it did. In fact, the suspect had spoofed the number.

The victim stayed on the phone pleading for his mother’s life while his office’s manager called police. However, they didn’t know where to tell officers to respond to since the caller hadn’t provided an address.

New Haven police tried calling Hartford police since the mother lives in the capital city, and when officers went to her home they found her safe and in possession of her phone.

Thankfully, the plot was revealed before the victim gave any money to the caller.

This was a phishing scam, which is also known as a virtual hostage call. They are similar to swatting incidents, though are not very common.

If you get a call from someone who asks for your personal information or tries to sell you something, hang up and call the Federal Trade Commission and police. And even if someone’s life is being threatened, try and call the person supposedly in trouble to check if they are okay before complying with a caller’s demands.

For more information on these types of scams, click here to visit the FTC’s page on them.