Of all the obnoxious scams perpetrated over the phone, the fake kidnapped child is one of the worst.
Douglas County reported the second case in the last several months where a parent received a phone call on April 27 claiming to have kidnapped an adult daughter, accompanied by screaming in the background.
The parent said the person spoke "broken English" but couldn't place the accent. The caller told them to go to the Gardnerville Walmart and await further instructions.
Deputies met the parent at the Walmart and were able to determine that the daughter was at work and was fine.
The caller never called back, but the typical pattern is that the caller tells the parent to buy gift cards from the Walmart and read the numbers over the phone to pay the ransom.
"In both cases, the parents were understandably terrified that their child had been kidnapped," according to the Sheriff's Office. "It is highly likely that these callers are from outside the United States. Also, these criminals usually use a spoof telephone number to conceal the actual telephone number they are calling from."
The Sheriff's Office is reminding residents that there's a ton of information online about almost everyone.
"Your name, address, phone number, people who are associated with you (your adult children) is all readily available information."
Anyone receiving a call should contact the Sheriff's Office at 775-782-5126 before following any instructions given to them over the phone.
"Anyone who would ask you to pay them with gift card numbers is a scammer," according to the Sheriff's Office. "Always be cautious with your personal information to try to limit your exposure to online scammers."