Police are warning residents not to fall for a kidnapping phone scam that targeted a 61-year-old Darien resident on Feb. 8. The victim received a call from an unknown number warning him his daughter had been involved in a car accident and assaulted by the caller. The caller said the victim would need to wire him $780 if he wanted to see his daughter again.

Unable to verify his daughter’s well-being, the victim followed the caller’s directions and wired the money, and ended the call. The resident was eventually able to contact his daughter and learned she was never in any danger, and reported the incident to police. An investigation is ongoing.

After a recent similar attempt was thwarted after the resident alerted Darien Police, the department issue a series of guidelines to avoid falling victim to these ongoing kidnapping scams:

Here Is What To Do To Avoid Becoming A Victim:

  • Memorize or keep a written list of family cell phone numbers that can be easily accessed if your cell phone is in use.
  • Do not provide family information over the telephone. Simply responding to a simple question like “Do you know where your husband is?” can trigger a kidnapping scam.
  • Do attempt to identify the location of the caller as well as the family member that has purportedly been kidnapped. The scammer may be unfamiliar with the local area.
  • Do ask specific questions to assess the validity of the call. Asking the hostage to describe your family member may prompt the caller to stop the scam and hang up.
  • Do try to buy time by repeating the caller’s request and tell them you are writing down the demand, or tell the caller you need time to get things moving.
  • Do not wire any funds for a “ransom.” These transactions are very difficult to trace and upon completion are considered a loss.
  • Do notify the local police as soon as possible, even when instructed not to.
  • Do save the incoming telephone number along with any text messages, voicemails, or photographs sent by the caller.
  • Do not panic; this scam feeds on fear. By remaining calm and rational, you may be able to figure out that the call is a hoax.