LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A woman says she and her 17-year-old daughter received a terrifying phone call recently when a stranger demanded money.
But with a little cunning, they were able to escape the situation with their pocketbooks intact.READ MORE: Strike Averted: IATSE And AMPTP Have 'Basic Contract' Agreement, Per Officials With The Theatrical Stage Employees Union
The woman, who asked not to be named, said a man called her from an unknown number, saying he had been in a car accident with one of her family members and needed money in exchange for letting the family member go.
The woman thought the caller was talking about her brother, and said it was difficult to tell just how real his threats were at first.
“He started making me feel comfortable. He said, ‘Don’t worry. He’s okay,’ Then I thought it was my brother,” she said.
The caller then changed his tone, said he had hit the woman’s brother over the head with a gun and was going to shoot him if she did not send him thousands of dollars.READ MORE: Taylor's Blunder, Other Missed Chances Put LA In NLCS Hole
At that point, they hung up the phone, pulled over and the 17-year-old girl called her uncle.
They determined the caller was a fraud and decided to record their subsequent interaction.
On a recording they played for CBS2, they challenged the caller to prove that he was with the woman’s brother. (The caller said he had knocked the man out, so he couldn’t speak).
It soon became clear they had the upper hand when the caller began lowering his price from $10,000 to $5,000. Eventually, they stopped answering the man’s calls.
LAPD and Beverly Hills Police Department officers said there have been a rash of similar phone scams recently. Often, the scammers are operating overseas and can be difficult to trace, police said.MORE NEWS: Karen Bass Officially Kicks Off Her Run For Mayor Of Los Angeles At Saturday Event