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Valley father loses thousands, warns others of kidnapping scam

Posted at 3:23 PM, Apr 17, 2019

PHOENIX — A Valley father is out thousands of dollars from scammers, but says he would make the same mistake again.

"The first thing I hear on the phone is this weepy young man and it did sound a bit like my son and he's going, 'Dad, dad, they're gonna kill me,'" said Steve Grant.

Grant says he wasn't sure what to think when he received a call from an international number. "Then the phone is taken from him and basically I'm told he witnessed a drug deal and he witnessed somebody being shot in the drug deal, so they have taken him captive," said Grant.

Grant says the "kidnappers" demanded he go to his bank, withdraw cash and wire it immediately.

He says he was concerned, but tried to stay measured in his reaction.

"There was probably two thirds saying this is fraud, but the one third said if it isn't fraud and I hang up, or ignore it, I live with the consequences," said Grant.

He was put under strict instructions not to hang up. Grant says he was able to put the callers on hold and quickly call his son's phone. "I dialed my son’s number and he didn't answer," said Grant.

Worried and out of options, Grant fulfilled the caller's request and wired over $1,800, "and about that time, my son calls back," said Grant. That's when he realized he'd been had.

It's a scam Phoenix police say continues to happen.

"They put him on the phone a couple of different times and had I just asked him a question only he would know," said Grant wondering.

Maybe things would have turned out different, but as of now Grant has no regrets.

"There's a big part of me that goes boy was I a dummy, and there's another part of me that's going, it's my son," said Grant.

Law enforcement officials say there are a few things you can do to avoid getting duped. They advise not to engage the caller, hang up and call police.