Sunday, March 3

Port St. Lucie mother issues warning after nearly falling for call claiming daughter was held hostage

A Port St. Lucie mother said a terrifying phone call nearly led her to become the victim of a common crime.

Paula Price said she was running errands when her phone rang Tuesday evening.

“I see my daughter’s phone number and it sounded just like my daughter crying,” Price said.

Price said she started asking the person, who she thought was her daughter, what was going on.

“Then this guy gets on the phone and says, ‘Your daughter saw us do a fentanyl deal in the Publix parking lot, and she started yelling and causing a big scene,'” Price said.

The Port St. Lucie mother’s heart sank because she said that’s her daughter’s typical reaction to illegal activity, but the caller then told Price they were holding her daughter hostage.

“[The caller said], ‘Because your daughter messed up our $20,000 deal, we need money now from you, or else something else bad is going to happen to your daughter,'” Price said.

The frantic mother rushed to the bank to withdraw the money and told the bank’s employees to call the police.

Price said she was too nervous to wait for the police, so she hopped in her car to meet at an agreed location.

“Next thing I know is as I’m cruising down U.S. 1 there’s a cop pulling me over while I’m on the … phone with this guy,” Price said.

The Indian River County Sheriff’s Office gave the worried mother the news of a lifetime.

“I pull over. They put (the phone) on mute, and tell me it’s a scam,” Price said.

She said the police followed her to the location to confirm her daughter was OK and found nothing.

Law enforcement warns that these types of schemes are widespread during the holiday so be alert and never send money to an unknown caller.

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