Skip to main content

Sheriff’s Office Warns of Kidnapping Scam

Published: 7/15/2016

For More Information Contact:

Captain John Watterson, (845) 486-3860    

The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office would like to warn the residents of Dutchess County and surrounding areas about a certain type phone scam, known as the kidnapping scam, that has been on the increase during the last few days.

Phone scams are ways in which criminals will attempt to get money from people by calling them and making up elaborate stories. In most of these cases the perpetrators have tried, sometimes successfully, to use the victim’s emotions about a loved one in trouble to get money. It’s common for the perpetrators of these scams to try to get money by telling people that one of their relatives has been seriously hurt, is in jail, or has been kidnapped and that they need to send money right away. 

In the latest version of this scam people have been contacted and told that a loved one has been kidnapped, and that to get them back money must be sent or brought to a designated location. In one instance a local couple was targeted, and the perpetrators contacted both of them separately and told them that their spouse had been kidnapped. At one point one of the spouses asked to speak to the other one and the perpetrators were able to link their phones through some type of technology, leading both spouses to believe that the other had been kidnapped. It is rare that a phone scam is as elaborate as this last one, but residents should know that they appear to be getting more sophisticated in their desire to get money and avoid detection.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to offer the following tips for people to avoid these types of scams:

  • Don’t panic. This may be hard to do but it is very important. Thieves know that people are more likely to make poor decisions when under stress or upset, and they will use this to their advantage. Try and stay as calm as possible. 
  • Contact law enforcement as soon as possible, especially if you’ve been contacted about a kidnapping.  
  • Do not make deals with the perpetrators unless you are doing so under the guidance of law enforcement.
  • Never meet up with someone that you don’t know; if you’re asked to do this it is surely a scam, and it is very dangerous as well.
  • If you’re called by someone you don’t know asking for money, for any reason, that’s a signal that it’s most likely a scam. 
  • If someone calls you and tells you that your relative has been hurt, is in jail, or has been kidnapped confirm it first before sending any money.  
  • Sending money overseas is especially risky; use extreme caution.

It is very important to not send any money to anyone that you don’t know until you’ve confirmed the situation and feel comfortable with it. If it’s a scam once the money is sent it’s very difficult, and most times impossible, to get it back. If anyone thinks they may have been a victim of this type of scam, or if they receive these types of calls in the future, they are encouraged to contact the Sheriff’s Office at 845-486-3800 or via the tipline at 845-605-CLUE (2583) or