MONROE, Conn. (WTNH) — Andrea Greenberg says sheer terror washed over her on Friday when she got a call on her cell phone that her husband was in a terrible accident.
“I said ‘What happened, what happened? Where is he? Is he all right?'” Greenberg recalled in her interview with News 8.
Greenberg said the caller was frantic, telling Andrea her husband was not cooperating and that they were holding a gun to his head.
“I’m like, ‘What what? Are you kidding me?’ I’m screaming ‘Put my husband on the phone, what is going on?'” Andrea said with emotion rising in her face.
In Seymour, it was similar call for Marco Torri. The callers said they had abducted his daughter and were torturing her. Then, Torri heard his daughter’s voice saying, “Dad, dad.” He said he froze.
What Torri didn’t know was that the callers already contacted his daughter, scammed her out of $550 and recorded her voice when telling her that her father had been in a terrible accident.
The recording of her voice was then used against her own father. He says this was to evoke fear and terror.
“We got her and they said they were molesting her and beating her and all these things they were saying to get into your mind, so now you’re shaking and you don’t know what to do next,” Torri recalled to News 8. “At the moment, you’re just losing your mind.”
Fairfield Police Chief Gary MacNamara says these calls have infiltrated our neighborhoods and are not going away anytime soon.
“This one is quick, designed to scare you so you don’t call police, don’t think it through, don’t have time to call your loved one,” MacNamara told News 8.
He says if you get a similar call, do not fall for it, but instead buy yourself some time.
“Slow it down, ask questions,” MacNamara said. “Ask them to describe your loved one and ask them to put your loved one on the phone.”
The chief says the longer the scam lasts, the more likely it is to fall apart. He says to use that time to get in touch with your loved one so you know they’re okay.
MacNamara says to report theses crime so local departments can track them and investigate them – possibly even handing them over to the FBI.
“The FBI started investigating in Mexico years ago where they knew this was occurring, but it’s very difficult to track this technology with changing numbers,” MacNamara said.
The criminals, he says, are making so many calls, sometimes with “burner” phones that are destroyed, that it makes it extremely difficult to follow them and ultimately prosecute.
Greenberg says the callers will play off of your fear and dangle your loved ones above your head. She says if you receive a threatening call, think twice.
“Stop and think, ‘Does it sound similar?’ Because the circumstances are similar in a lot of these calls,” Greenberg said. “This doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you live.”