ANCHORAGE, Alaska — If you live in Anchorage, then you should pay attention what calls are you picking up, police said Saturday after a pair of malicious calls reported this week – including one during which the scammers tried to bribe with the victim’s wife, in methods very similar to a February case.
The latest kidnapped-wife scam was reported to police at about noon Friday, according to an APD statement.
Police found that the suspects had been calling the wife at the same time Friday as well, demanding that she settle an outstanding warrant for failure to appear in court with prepaid debit cards.
Police said the scammers who made the Friday calls even sent the husband to the same Fred Meyer – the Midtown location at Northern Lights and Benson boulevards – as the man who told the local news he emptied his bank account in response to a Feb. 15 call. The people who made that call, he said, told him they had his wife and threatened to “rape and kill her” unless he stayed on the line while buying prepaid debit cards and providing their access numbers.
Investigators said the scammers in the February call kept the man from contacting his wife by calling her simultaneously. In hindsight, the husband told the local news , the scam might have unraveled if they had texted each other.
APD spokeswoman Kendra Doshier said it wasn’t clear what if any losses the couple had suffered in Friday’s call. Neither were able to initially report the matter, due to the scammers’ calls.
Police said Saturday afternoon that they believe there is a link between the February and Friday calls.
Friday’s incident came just over a day after a separate scam, reported at about 8:15 a.m. Thursday,
“Officers had cause to believe that the suspect harvested extensive amounts of personal information from the victim’s public Facebook profile and wielded that knowledge to intimidate the victim,” police wrote.
Doshier said police were able to intervene Thursday before the victims lost any money. Although the threats were generic, Doshier said they appeared to be based on the Facebook information.
In light of this week’s calls, APD shared a recording of a third phone scam on the department’s Facebook page – in which the suspect claimed to be a police officer.