One of at least five people targeted in extortion attempts Monday told police a caller said her son was being held hostage and demanded $1,500 for his life.
The caller, from (787) 209-3710, told the woman her son and the alleged kidnappers had been involved in a traffic accident in front of Shelbyville Police Department and would allow him to go to the hospital if she'd meet them there.
After police determined her three sons were all at work, she told them to call her husband, identified him by a false name and gave them the number of Shelbyville police headquarters.
The caller, who spoke with a Spanish accent, did call that number but hung up when he realized he was talking to police, officer Cody King said.
Four other people in the Shelbyville area received similar calls thought to have originated in Puerto Rico, police and sheriff's officials said.
Similar calls have been received across the country, police said. A similar scam attempt was part of the plot of a popular network television show recently.