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Police warn of prevalent phone scam

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HOLYOKE, MA (WSHM) -

A phone scam telling people their loved ones are in danger and asking for money is becoming very prevalent in Western Massachusetts. Friday a recent victim of the scam spoke to CBS 3.

"A man started saying that he had my brother hostage in a room that he had gotten into a car accident and that he had injured a friend of his and that he wanted me to wire him $2,000 for medical bills for his friend," said the victim who asked not to be identified.

The victim received the alarming call on Thursday.

"I went to the South Hadley Police Department, they (the scam artist) were keeping me on the phone I had to whisper, I had to hold my hand over the phone and tell the policeman that my brother was being held hostage and that they were threatening to kill him," said the victim.

The victim ended up going to an ATM in Holyoke where several city officers got involved. He took out two withdrawals of $500 and was ready to wire it to the person on the phone when police informed him it was all a scam.

"She instructed me to just hang up the phone because they had located my brother," said the victim.

This story is becoming a common one throughout the area. Holyoke Police Lt. Matthew Moriarty says over the past two weeks the department has received information about around a dozen of these types of phone calls.

"A lot of people they get panicked they get scared obviously concerned for their loved one and they immediately rush out and they send the money," said Moriarty.

Moriarty wants to warn the public about the scam.

"If you're receiving these phone calls they are fake. The first thing you should do is gather any information you can if you have a caller ID, bring the local law enforcement your phone number," said Moriarty.

He says another big thing to keep in mind is to try and contact the person the caller says is being held. Moriarty says in many cases people wire the money then reach out to their loved one and realize it was all just a scam.

The cases are under investigation.

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