Man says scammer claimed to be holding loved ones hostage, demanded money

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LYMAN, S.C. (WSPA) – A Spartanburg County man said he handed over his savings to a scammer who threatened to kill his parents if he didn’t pay them.

The call was reported to the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office on Monday. Lt. Kevin Bobo with the sheriff’s office said this is the first example of a scam like this he’s heard of in the area.

According to Rigoberto Perez, who said he was scammed, the caller put his parents on the line, claiming they were being held hostage.

“They make me talk to my dad. So I talk to my dad, and I talked to my mom,” Perez recalled.

He said his parents are in Mexico, and the anonymous caller spoke in Spanish. Perez told 7News he thought his parents were with the caller, but only after he talked to his father later did he learn they weren’t actually together.

“They [did] a three way phone call,” Perez said.

Perez said his father also felt like he was in danger after talking to this person on the phone.

“[The caller] said, ‘this is what we’re going to do. I want you to pay $10,000.’ I said I don’t have the money, so he says, ‘How much can you pay?’ I said only I got $2,000,” Perez said.

Perez said he sent $2,000 to the scammer from a Mexican grocery store in Greer and another nearby store, as the scammer instructed him.

“It’s a lot of money,” Perez said. “The money I was saving, trying to save for my kids for Christmas, so I’ll do whatever I have to do. I have to work twice I guess…I don’t know.”

Perez said he and his parents still don’t know who called, but no one was hurt. He said he dosen’t want this to happen to anyone else.

“Just ignore the phone,” he said.

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