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Phone Scam Tells Victims A Loved One Is Abducted

Eugene police say phone scammers are trying to carry out kidnapping hoaxes.  People are told that a loved one has been taken, while a woman screams and pleads in the background.

Debbie Jacenek is Acting Supervisor for the EPD’s Crime Prevention Unit.  She says there are ways to respond to such calls to make sure they’re genuine.

“See if you can talk to the loved one, ask if they’re okay," says Jacenek.  "They say to request that the kidnap victim call you back from their cell phone, so you have that added caller ID information, because often times these are coming from outside the area. 

"And if you have the ability to get on your computer maybe while you’re on the phone…find some way to independently verify what they’re saying.  Attempt to locate the individual they’re calling you about as well.” 

Janecek adds don’t give away personal information during the call.   

The FBI says kidnapping hoaxes have been happening across the country for years.  People unsure if they’re being scammed or not should call 911.

Brian Bull is an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Oregon, and remains a contributor to the KLCC news department. He began working with KLCC in June 2016.   In his 27+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (22 regional),  the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from  the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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