Authorities warn of new hostage scam

Editor: Shannon Cottongame

September, 1, 2021

Local authorities are warning of a new telephone scam that is being reported in the community.

The Hillsboro Department of Public Safety (HDPS) reported Tuesday, August 24, that the Hillsboro Police Department and the Hill County Sheriff’s Office have received several complaints about a hostage scam.

The callers reportedly identify themselves as hostage takers calling from a phone number out of Mexico. They ask the intended victim to go to Walmart and await further instructions without calling police, stating that they have a family member as a hostage and will kill them if the instructions are not followed.

HDPS reported that in all instances, the loved one was found safe at home and had not been contacted by anyone. “It is believed that the suspect caller is obtaining specific information on family members through a social media hack or reviewing open social media accounts,” the press release read.

HDPS reported that the callers intend for the target family member to electronically wire money or obtain gaming or gift cards and provide the access number to take funds from the cards.

The department encouraged the public to be calm and mindful about the scams, attempt to contact family members via phone to verify their whereabouts and notify law enforcement if they feel the threat is real.

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