Mother and daughter fall for ‘virtual kidnapping' scam

A mother and daughter fell for a ‘virtual kidnapping’ scam when they both thought the other had been kidnapped and being held for a ransom.

Afraid of what might’ve happened, they both sent cash electronically to kidnappers they never saw.

Still shaken, Sally Council recalled the call to her cell phone last Saturday from a man she did not know about her daughter, Shirley Avekoe.

“I heard screaming, and then I heard my daughter’s voice that said, ‘Mom! Please! I’ve been kidnapped, and they're going to kill me!'” she recalled. “He said, ‘Look, your daughter was at the wrong place at the wrong time. And unless you do exactly what we tell you, we're going to kill her.”

Council was told to drive to the Brookshires, withdraw a certain amount of money from an ATM, and send it through Western Union to a Mexican address. She was then told to park in a shopping center outside Daylight Donuts in Farmersville and wait.

While waiting, Avekoe, who was supposedly kidnapped, called her mom hysterically and asked if she was okay.

Avekoe said she got a call about her mom being kidnapped.

“They actually had a recording of her voice on the phone, saying just do whatever they tell you,” Avekoe explained.

Avekoe was in El Paso confused and scared when the scammers called her cell phone.

"This is not a movie, okay? This is not a movie! Batman and Superman are not going to come save the day,” the caller told Avekoe. “The only superhero today is going to be you!"

Avekoe followed their instructions and, like her mother, withdrew and wired cash to save the people who mattered most.

Council believes the scammers got her information when someone bumped into her car five days earlier and put her on the phone with their insurance agent. She gave them information about her and her daughter that scammers ultimately used to pull off the crime and get them to wire money.