Police: Extortion Scheme Targets Texas Doctors

EL PASO (August 2, 2014) An extortion scheme known as "virtual kidnapping" is targeting doctors in Texas border cities, El Paso police say.

The scam that originated several years ago in Mexico begins with a phone call to a doctor in which the caller claims to be from a drug cartel and says a loved one has been abducted, police spokesman Javier Sambrano said.

In the current scheme, the caller claims the doctor's child had been abducted and demands a ransom be wired to Mexico, he said.

The call sometimes includes the voice of a crying child, he said.

Not until after the money is transferred do the targets of the calls realize that no one was abducted.

Sambrano didn’t say how many physicians may have been victims of the scam.