Kidnap scam targets UConn student, father

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OXFORD, Mass.  —  A University of Connecticut student and her father were the target of an elaborate kidnapping scam that stretched across three states last Tuesday.

A Somers, N.Y. man went to the Adams, Mass. police station in the northwestern part of the state to report that his daughter had been kidnapped from UConn.

The man told police the “kidnappers” had personal information about his daughter. A GPS location was obtained showing her phone was near a church in Oxford, Mass. about 100 miles away from Adams. Police in Oxford went to two locations where her phone was pinging but found nothing.

She later told police she had been studying in her dorm when a man called her and said he was holding and beating her brother after he was involved in a traffic accident. They wanted her to wire $1,000 from Chase Bank in cash or they would kill him. They ordered her to drive to Chase Building Supply, believing it was a bank branch,  not realizing it was another company altogether.

The “kidnappers” also told her to buy a second phone and additional minutes for their phone. Then, they instructed her to call her father and tell him she had been kidnapped.

Soon after, an employee of Honey Farms convenience store in Oxford called UConn police to say that a woman was in their store and noted she was in trouble. She passed a clerk a note that someone was going to hurt her family and UConn police contacted authorities in Oxford.

Police arrived at the store and found the woman talking on the phone to the “kidnappers.”  Officers confirmed to her that her brother was fine. The woman told police everything that happened, she was checked out, and returned to school.

Police continue to investigate who was responsible for the phone calls. They want to remind people to be wary if they receive similar calls. Contact police if you believe you are the victim of a similar scam.