East Lyme police warn residents of kidnapping scam

EAST LYME - East Lyme police are warning their residents and those throughout the state of a phone scam that appears to be picking up steam.

This past weekend, at least four East Lyme residents contacted police alerting them to a scam, in which the teenage children of these residents were said to have been in some sort of peril.

Clearly, any scam plays on the emotions of those picking up the phone.

“Saying that either that the child was in trouble or, the last two, where a child had been kidnapped and they had to send money to the individual in order to get that child back,” said Chief Michael Finkelstein of the East Lyme Police Department.

The calls all came in from the following number: (860) 372-5402. But, police are still trying to trace where the calls actually originated from.

“Depending if it was a boy or a girl, you had a boy crying in the background or a girl crying in the background and you know one consistency is most parents believed, and, under stressful situations you’re going to that it was in fact their child that was screaming for help,” said Finkelstein.

“You do whatever for your loved ones and a soon as you hear somebody is in need of help, you help them,” said Melinda Graus, the Owner of Gumdrops & Lillipops Candy, Ice Cream & Diner.

One woman, strolling along Main St., in Niantic, had a loved one that was almost taken for thousands of dollars.

“The police called and said we have your grandson, knew him by name, we are holding him at the police station.He’s going up before the judge for his arraignment,” said Wilma Motta, of California.

Ultimately, she says, this loved one was stopped from sending money via Western Union by an alert store clerk.

“That’s really a sad thing when you can’t take a phone call anymore without wondering if you’re going to get scammed,” said Carolyn Youngblood Laban of
Niantic

But, because scams have become so prevalent, people are more wise to them.

“Take the time to first of all contact the police department,” said the Chief. “But, also, check on the relatives. Check on where they are before you actually give into these because you know our experiences almost 100% of the time or not legitimate.”

Chief Finkelstein says, fortunately, nobody has fallen victim this particular scam. The bottom line: even if you recognize the area code, if you don’t recognize the entire phone number, let the phone keep ringing.