Warning issued about scary child kidnapping scam

SEATTLE -- The King County Sheriff's Office warned residents Tuesday about a scam in which a caller tells parents over the phone that he has kidnapped their children and demands money for their safe return.

On Thursday, March 8, in the Ravensdale area a mother received a phone call shortly after dropping off her two daughters at the school bus in the morning. It was a blocked number.

"The male caller, described as having an accent, stated that he had her daughter and used her real name, although he had her last name slightly wrong," the sheriff's office said in a news release. "He told the mom that if she didn't meet him with money in exchange for her daughter's release he would 'kill the child.'

"In a panic, the mom called the school and confirmed both her daughters were in school and safe," the sheriff's office said.

Four days later, on Monday, March 13, a father in unincorporated King County near White Center received a similar call from a blocked number.

"A younger-sounding female came on the line pretending to be the daughter of that father. The female stated she was kidnapped and the suspect needed money to release her. The male suspect, again described as having an accent, then got on the phone and demanded money from the father or he 'would hurt her.'

The father called his daughter's school and, again, was assured the girl was safe at school, the sheriff's office said.

"Please keep in mind these type of phone calls are SCAMS, never provide money to anyone over the phone," the sheriff's office said.

Q13 News reporter Jamie Tompkins recalled she had reported on a similar scam one year ago in Snohomish County:

At least 5 Snohomish County families targeted by frightening kidnapping scam