Police say mom and son reported as being in danger were caught up in ‘sophisticated phone scam’

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MANCHESTER, NH – Police are now saying that the Amber Alert for a missing mother and child issued Tuesday was not a safety issue, as originally thought, but rather prompted by “a sophisticated phone scam.”

On June 22, 2021, Manchester Police sent out an Amber Alert for a missing mother and her 4-year-old son. The woman and child were located in the city soon within an hour of the alert, both were safe. On Tuesday night Chief Allen Aldenberg held a press conference to fill in some of the blanks, including a timeline that included a report made about the welfare of the mother and child, and the decision to issue an Amber Alert about three hours later based on information detectives had gathered.

Police on Wednesday sent out a follow-up statement indicating that their detectives now believe that the incident was part of a sophisticated phone scam and there is no indication that the mother and child were ever in danger.

In these scams, someone calls the victim and says a family member is in trouble. They demand money for the individual’s safe return. The caller insists that the victim not hang up. This is an attempt to shut down any communication with the victim’s family and friends.

If this ever happens to you, and you are concerned, stay on the line but use another device to text or email the family member in question to verify that they are safe. If no device is available, write down a phone number and give it to someone else so that they can call for you and also notify the police.

The scammer may also ask for other family member’s phone numbers. They then call them, loop them into the scenario and try to prey on them for more money.

These scammers use VPNs and phone number masking to make it appear like the number is coming from another location.

If you ever do wire money or send a gift card and feel unsure of the situation, be sure to call the bank or gift card company to put a stop on the payment. Then you should always contact police.

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