The Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office is warning parents about a new scam going around.
They say the caller is telling parents they've kidnapped their child and they need to pay money to get them back.
Ottawa County Sheriff Jeremy Floyd says this call hit a little too close to home because the caller knew the area so well and told the man if he didn't wire the money, he would hurt his daughter.
"To hear that though, firsthand, it was frightening,” said Sheriff Floyd.
Sheriff Jeremy Floyd says he got a call Sunday from a man who thought one of his employees was being scammed.
The sheriff listened to the call on speakerphone and said the caller, who identified himself as Pedro, told the victim he kidnapped his daughter and needed a thousand dollars to get her back.
“He didn’t want the victim to hang up the phone and continued to give demands that you need to go to a certain location, wire a certain amount of money,” said Sheriff Floyd.
He says the caller even had an audio recording that sounded like the victim’s daughter.
"He did play a video or recording, well I assume it was a recording, of a young girl, saying 'help me daddy please,' and the victim thought that did sound like his daughter," said Sheriff Floyd.
Sheriff Floyd says he grabbed another phone and got in touch with the victim's daughter at work to make sure she was okay.
“She was a little shaken up after I explained what was going on, but I told her everything is okay, your dad is just receiving a scam at this point saying you’ve been kidnapped,” said Sheriff Floyd.
Floyd then relayed the information back to the victim's boss who told the victim it was a scam. He says the caller even called a second time after the victim hung up.
Sheriff Floyd says the call sounded so real because the suspect even knew details about Miami.
“What scared me or what threw up a red flag with me was when he said what are you driving by now, and of course the victim said we are driving by this business or that business and he knew exactly where they were at,” said Sheriff Floyd. "He either did a lot of research in our area as far as where he was going to do the money drops and what route he would probably be taking, or he has direct ties to this area.”
Sheriff Floyd says the 30-minute call traced back to Australia, but the caller was telling the victim to wire money to Mexico.
"How do we get that information out there if it's a scam or if it's the real deal, especially with human trafficking at a high level and kidnapping which go hand in hand, it's concerning for us,” said Sheriff Floyd.
He says it's hard to tell if this person is local or not because they knew so many details about Miami, so they called the FBI to assist.
“Scams to that level are very frightening because we don’t know if it’s true or if it’s a scam and even for myself when I’m monitoring that call and hearing the demands and hearing what he would do if he doesn’t meet those demands is very concerning especially as a parent,” said Sheriff Floyd.
Now they are just warning people in the area to be vigilant and watch where you are putting your information.
“We download apps all the time on our phones or computers and the fine print that says your information will be shared, sometimes we need to be really aware of what we are sharing with whoever,” said Sheriff Floyd.
Tips if you’re involved in a scam call:
“Get that information for the simple fact that we can look into that and the more information we have on any case will help us in the long run,” said Sheriff Floyd.
Sheriff Floyd says if you've been a victim of this scam or know any details that could help solve this case, call the Sheriff’s Office.