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Reports of telephone hostage scam in North Tonawanda

Scams about family members being held hostage, in exchange for ransom, have been reported twice this week in North Tonawanda, police said today.

A man with a Hispanic accent made phone calls claiming that a family member had been involved in an accident and was being held at gunpoint pending a payment of $2,000, police said. Payments were to be made in installments of $1,000 each from two separate locations.

Police said officers were able to confirm the safety of the “hostage” in each case before any money was sent.

The calls originated from (716) 598-2872 and (203) 260-7695, police said. Such calls could come from any phone number, police warn; in a practice known as “spoofing,” phony numbers will show up on the recipient’s caller ID.

Anyone who has received similar calls are asked to call North Tonawanda police at 692-4111 or their local police agency.