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'It’s so frightening and debilitating': Brook Park mother recounts fake kidnapping phone call

Fake Call Kidnapping Call
Posted at 3:28 PM, Feb 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-15 20:03:09-05

BROOK PARK, Ohio — Officers with Brook Park Police continue to investigate a fake kidnapping call, where a family received a phone call from an unknown number, claiming to have kidnapped their daughter and demanding money.

Carolyn, who declined to share their last name for their safety, described the phone call she received earlier this month.

“I want you to stay on the phone with me,” she recounted what the caller said. “I don’t want you to call anybody else or this will be the last time you hear from me.”

Carolyn told News 5 the unknown caller claimed to have kidnapped her daughter, who works as an Amazon Flex delivery driver, saying she was “in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

“Some people have no morals, how do you do that to somebody,” she said.

Over the next two hours, Carolyn said she stayed on the phone with the would-be kidnappers, listening to a woman’s voice crying in the background. During that time, she said she followed the caller’s directions which took her to the Steelyard Walmart, where she says she wired $780 to an account in Mexico.

“In hindsight, it should click in but when it's happening, it’s so frightening and debilitating,” she said. “All you’re thinking about is your child.”

In the end, Carolyn said she hung up with the caller and then quickly learned her daughter was safe at home the whole time.

For Ptl. George Kosakowski with Brook Park police, he told News 5 these calls typically originated from overseas and if you get a call like this, take a moment to pause and take a step back to look at the situation.

“Typically you know it's a scam if someone is asking for a wire transfer, prepaid gift card, or prepaid money cards,” he said.

Almost exactly one year ago, News 5 reported on a similar call a North Canton family received, one of about five reported in Stark County during a stretch of two weeks.

"As a parent, to have your heart ripped out like that, it is just unbelievable, painful," one parent said at the time.

For Carolyn, she hopes her experience can be a lesson to others.

“Be cautious: old people aren't the only ones being scammed, they’re preying on young people who have children,” she said.