If somebody tries to convince you that a relative or friend is being held hostage and wants money in exchange for freedom, check with the so-called “hostage.” He or she might be free and unaware of what’s going on.
Police say it’s is a scam, and it’s been pulled on several victims.
One victim was a Philadelphia Gas Works employee who got a text message on a PGW cell phone that a family member had been taken hostage, police said.
The PGW worker was told that a family member had been involved in an auto accident with the text’s sender.
“The unknown sender of the text also stated that he had taken this family member hostage, and provided a cell phone number in order to be reached,” police said in a news release. “When the victim dialed the provided number, an unknown male informed the victim that the family member would be killed if he did not wire $1,500 through Western Union to a male in New York. The victim was also ordered to remain on the phone while wiring the money, and not to contact police.”
The “hostage” was located unharmed — and unaware of the incident, police said.
Two additional PGW employees received the same text message on their company cell phones, police said.
Police are asking anyone who receives the message not to respond and to immediately call 911. ••