Police & Fire

Verona Woman is Victim of Virtual Kidnapping Scam


VERONA/CEDAR GROVE, NJ – According to Cedar Grove police, a Verona woman was the victim of a virtual kidnapping scam on Tuesday. 

An investigation revealed the victim received a telephone call from a man claiming to have kidnapped the victim’s husband and demanding the victim pay $1,700.00 for his release.  The victim was instructed to send a MoneyGram in that amount to an individual in Puerto Rico, which she did.  

After doing so, she went to her Pompton Avenue bank to request assistance and the police were contacted.  The responding officer, Ptl. Michael Grasso, was able to speak to the victim’s husband by telephone and determined he was at his place of employment in New York City and the kidnapping claim had been a fraud.  The victim then attempted to cancel the MoneyGram, but was informed the money had already been picked up in Puerto Rico.  The matter was referred to the detective bureau for further investigation. 

Sign Up for E-News

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) recently released a warning to the public about Virtual Kidnapping Scams.  Similar to this case, an individual will call potential victims claiming to have kidnapped a family member.  Callers will typically provide victims with specific instructions to ensure safe return of the allegedly kidnapped individual.  Instructions often involve demands of a ransom payment.  Victims are ordered to stay on the phone until the money is wired, often to a third party in Puerto Rico.  Callers will use various techniques to instill a sense of fear, panic and urgency in an effort to rush the victim into making a very hasty decision.  To avoid becoming a victim of this scam, look for the following possible indicators: 

  • Incoming calls from an outside area code, sometimes from Puerto Rico area codes 787, 939, and 856. 
  • Calls that do not come from the alleged kidnap victim’s phone, 
  • Callers that go to great lengths to keep you on the phone, 
  • Callers that prevent you from talking to the alleged kidnap victim,
  • Demand that ransom money be sent via a wire transfer service. 

If you receive a phone call from someone demanding ransom for a kidnapped family member, consider doing the following: 

  • Try to slow the situation down.  Request to speak to the alleged victim directly.
  • If the caller won’t let you speak to victim, ask them describe the victim.
  • While staying on the line with the caller, attempt to call the victim from another phone, or attempt to text or contact the victim via social media.
  • Don’t directly challenge or argue with the caller.
  • To buy time, repeat the caller’s request and tell them you are writing down the instructions while you or someone else contacts the police for assistance.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


South Orange - Maplewood School District Responds to Threatening Message Painted in Columbia H.S. Lot

February 15, 2018

MAPLEWOOD, NJ - The South Orange - Maplewood School District (SOMSD) sent an email to Columbia High School (CHS) families at about 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday with information about the threatening message that was found painted in the CHS lot that morning. 

The large message was painted on the ground of the student parking lot on Parker Avenue, about a half-block from CHS, and stated, ...

Travel Spotlight: Another Encounter with Marine Life along the Jersey Shore

February 20, 2018

SPRING LAKE, NJ — In neighboring Spring Lake, a baby seal made its way onto the beach near the north end pavilion early this afternoon.

Photographer Nancy Orlowski discovered the harbor seal pup near the jetty situated just south of the pavilion on Ocean Avenue at Ludlow Avenue.

The seal’s Presidents Day appearance on February 19 comes one day after a whale was spotted off the ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, February 21

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Wed, February 21, 10:30 AM

Walsh Gallery, Seton Hall University, South Orange

Mirrors of Midcentury French Culture at SHU

Arts & Entertainment

Thu, February 22

Scherman Hoffman Wildlife Sanctuary, Bernardsville

NJ Audubon: Volunteer Art Show!

Arts & Entertainment Green

Montclair Police Blotter: Theft of Delivered Packages, Arrests and More

February 21, 2018

MONTCLAIR, NJ-  The following police blotter was issued by the Montclair Police Department on February 20, 2018:



02-13-2018 - A 16yoa East Orange male was arrested and charged with Unlawful Taking by Means of Conveyance, resulting from an investigation into a vehicle theft which occurred on 1/25/2018.

'What Stays' exposes family secrets and lies

‘What Stays’ exposes family secrets, resentment and lies

By Liz Keill

SUMMIT, NJ – In an original play by Laura Ekstrand and Jason Szamreta, the Dreamcatcher Repertory Theatre has provided an enlightening, funny and heart-felt view of family foibles.

Ekstrand has said that the germ of the play came from conversations with the ensemble members of the troupe, based on ...

MPL Presents: “Closing The Gender Gap” w/ Joanne Lipman in Conversation with Edward Felsenthal

February 21, 2018

Montclair, NJ - On Sunday, February 25th, 2018, Joanne Lipman, former Chief Con- tent Officer of Gannett, and Editor-in-Chief of USA TODAY and the USA TODAY NETWORK, will dis- cuss her new book That’s What She Said: What Men Need To Know (and Women Need To Tell Them) About Working Together with TIME Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Edward Felsenthal.

The national dialogue ...