Police warn parents about ‘virtual kidnapping’ phone scam

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - Authorities are asking parents to beware of a scam that uses their love for their children to steal their money.

The FBI calls it a virtual kidnapping scam. Scammers call parents during school hours, claiming to have taken their child. Then they demand money in exchange for the child's release.

According to WDCW, several cases are popping up on the east coast.

Indiana State Police said they don't have any reports of it happening in central Indiana yet, but if you do get the call, they urge you to remain calm and get help.

"Call the school," said Sgt. John Perrine with ISP.  "Have somebody call the school. Have somebody make contact that you can verify that this is true, before you do anything as far as following direction."

Parents should also call the police immediately, even if the person on the other line isn't making threats.

Perrine also recommends parents create a "safe word" with their children if they haven't already.

"If somebody comes to the school to pick you up and they don’t say this word or they don’t have their correct information, you don’t go with them," Perrine said.