College Place police said a local woman fell victim to a scam where she was led to believe a drug dealer was holding someone she knew captive over a debt.

According to a release from the College Place Police Department issued Saturday, May 29, the woman told police she had been called by a Washington state number recently, and the person calling told her a loved one had been in a serious accident.

Then the scammer said they were a drug dealer and told the woman her loved one had actually fallen into “financial loss” because they’d been in “the wrong place at the wrong time,” police wrote in the release.

The caller told the woman to stay on the phone, and she did so for several hours, eventually wiring money to an account outside the U.S.

The scammer hung up the phone after the money had been sent, and the woman called her loved one and quickly realized she’d been scammed.

Police said the woman wished to share her story to help others be prevented from something similar.

“Fraudulent phone scams are on the rise,” the release stated. “Be (cautious) when answering calls you are not expecting or numbers you don’t recognize. If the call is important, the caller will leave a message.”

Police said if a resident is ever in a situation where someone is threatening them and demanding that they don’t hang up the phone, they can have someone else call 911 or place the phone on its speaker setting and text a friend or family member or even text 911 locally.

“If you have a suspicion about a call being fraudulent, it most likely is,” police said in the release.

Teaser by Kelli McClintock via Unsplash.

Jedidiah Maynes is a reporter for the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin covering a variety of topics including local court cases. He enjoys making music and puns.