MINNEAPOLIS – A woman from Minneapolis sounds the alarm in connection with a terrible scam that cost her thousands of dollars.
When Linda Austad received a call from an unknown number on Saturday, it began a six-hour ordeal.
“There was a little girl crying and she said, ‘Mom, I’ve been in an accident,’ and it sounded just like my daughter,” Austad said.
Austad then says that a man took the phone. At first he said he was a police officer, but then changed his mind.
“[He said] “I kidnapped your daughter and you must follow my instructions and stay on the phone with me or I will cut off her finger or kill her,” Austad said.
He also told her that he was in a drug cartel. While keeping her talking most of the time, the man forced Austad to go to several Walmarts and make money transfers to people in Mexico. She sent $2,800.
“I was so stressed because I was sure she had it because it sounded like her,” Austad said. “It was just the scariest day of my life.”
When the last of the money was gone, the scammer finally opened up and hung up. Austad confirmed that her daughter is safe.
“I don’t want anyone else to go through the torture I went through,” she said.
We dialed the Minnesota number used to call Austad, but no one answered.
Unfortunately, this scam happened not only to her. The Washington County Sheriff’s Office tweeted Sunday that a scammer called someone in Hugo and said their daughter was in his trunk and that they could hear a woman screaming.
The tweet said the man drove up to his daughter’s house and found her okay and the suspect not on the phone.
Austad says she would like to do something similar.
“He heard every word I said, so I didn’t want to, you know, compromise my daughter,” she said.
Austad says a police dispatcher told her to call 311 on Monday and file a report.