Calls falsely claiming a family member has been kidnapped have been received by several people in Bedford County within the past week, the Shelbyville Police Department said Monday.
"It's not localized, but all over the nation," Detective Sgt. Brian Crews said today.
"In every case so far the member has been located safely," police said on their Facebook page. "If a person receives one of these calls they immediately need to locate the family member that is supposedly kidnapped."
Victims say a caller with a Hispanic accent threatens harm to the family member unless a ransom is paid, according to Crews.
The caller first asks for a meeting at "the hospital" then instead orders the victim to wire money to another location, often Puerto Rico, police said.
At least two people received the calls in Shelbyville over the weekend, Crews said. No money has actually been sent.
In all cases the calls were made from (787) 209-3710, a number police say may be in Puerto Rico. Both landline and cellular phones are being called, police said.
"Every situation that has been investigated into has been proven to be a scam since the relative that is supposedly being held captive has been found safe," police said. "The complete objective is to lure the concerned family member into sending them money. This is not a new scam and there are several variations of this."