Hostage scammers steal hundreds from Atlanta residents - KMSP-TV

'Hostage scammers' steal hundreds from Atlanta residents

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Scammers preying on fear are stealing hundreds of dollars from Atlanta victims, police say.

A Northeast Atlanta family was the latest victim in this scam.  It all started when Atlanta resident Bruce Bryant received a phone call Tuesday morning from a man with a Hispanic accent using a New York number.

According to Bryant the man claimed that there was an accident involving Bryant's brother. The man said that he was part of a gang that was holding Bryant's brother hostage.  

"And he said, look, we are going to kill him if you don't wire this money and I said what's your address? I'm coming over there right now," says Bryant.

Bryant says he sensed that the phone call was a scam and hung up the phone. Bryant was at work away from his wife who shortly afterwards received a call from the same New York number.

The man told Bryant's wife nearly the same story this time the accident near involved her husband being held hostage in a van.

"And they actually putt one of their co-conspirators on the phone who is kind of babbling and pretending to be me," Says Bryant.

According to Bryant's wife the man stayed on the phone with her while she drove from their Buckhead home to this bank and then to Western Union to wire $400 to Puerto Rico. The man then told her that they would drop Bryant off at the emergency room at Northside Hospital.

Terrified Bryant's wife wrote a note to the officer inside the hospital who then called her husband.

"The policeman called me and I'm sitting in the office hello, how are you? I'm fine," says Bryant. That's when Bryant's wife realized she had been scammed.

Atlanta police say they haven't heard of this scam but others across the country have been victims of the hostage scam.

Atlanta Police are looking into the situation but we did get some tips from Connecticut who handled several of these cases. They say be hesitant of unsolicited phone calls, ask them to name the relatives they are asking about and avoid sending money through wire services.

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