ODESSA, Texas (KMID/KPEJ)- The Odessa Police Department is warning the community of a kidnapping ransom scam that has some people in the Basin on high alert.

Yesterday, OPD said it responded to two local banks in reference to a possible robbery. In both instances, the investigation revealed that a robbery had not occurred but that multiple people had fallen victim to the kidnapping ransom scam.

The scare came on the heels of other reports of the same scam, OPD said.

“Citizens have reported receiving calls from someone advising that their family member was being held captive and demanded to be paid a ransom for the family member’s release. The scammer orders the person receiving the call to stay on the phone until the ransom is paid. In some cases, the call may appear to be coming from the phone number of the alleged kidnapped person, but the scammer won’t let you speak to the person or hear their voice,” the Department said in a release.

OPD offered this advice for anyone who receives such a call:

  • Do not pay any money or provide any personal information.
  • Simply hang up and call the family member mentioned in the scam immediately.
  • Notify OPD immediately with the caller’s phone number and any names associated with the call. 

Prevention is key in this type of scam and OPD is recommending that everyone set their social media account profiles to private and review any information that has been publicly shared and limit the audience when appropriate.