A nationwide scam involving a kidnapping ransom has targeted the West Michigan community and the Kent County Sheriff's Office wants residents to be aware of what's happening.

They posted about the scam on their Facebook page and say that although nobody is REALLY getting kidnapped, the scammers prey upon the vulnerable to make them believe a loved one has been kidnapped.

...they are often incredibly traumatic for everyone involved.

The scammers spoof a number and call their victim and tell them that their family member has been kidnapped and the only way to ensure they get let go is by paying a ransom, and usually in that very moment.

In the background of the call, victims hear screaming; many victims claim that the screaming sounds just like their loved one.

Several reports have been made to the sheriff's office just in the last few days with people believing someone close to them has been abducted. However (and thankfully), that isn't the case. Officials say these scammers are mostly targeting the middle-aged and elderly.

Let's hope you and nobody in your family has to go through anything like this, but just in case, it's important to know some signs to look out for. According to the Kent County Sheriff's Office, you should never make a payment over the phone, and avoid sharing any  personal info. Don't be afraid to ask to speak directly to your "kidnapped" family member.

If you're questioning the validity of the phone call or if you have any questions feel free to contact your local police department.

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