SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio (WJW) – A Northeast Ohio man is warning others about a frightening phone scam that he said sounded terrifyingly real. But it was all a hoax.
“I panicked. I mean, I didn’t know what to do,” said Andy Jalwan.
Monday night, Jalwan was watching TV with his wife when his cellphone rang.
“It comes up caller ID, it’s my mom’s picture, her name and I pick up the phone and I just hear her crying and I say “Mom, mom, what’s wrong?” said Jalwan.
She does not answer.
“Next thing you know, the male voice comes on the line and he says ‘I just carjacked this woman. If you don’t do everything I say, you know, I’m going to kill her,” said Jalwan.
Jalwan lives in Summit County, while his mother lives alone in Sarasota, Florida. His father had just died four months ago. He started recording the call.
Jalwan: “Can you put my mom on the phone? (woman screaming)”
Caller: “Stop, let my (expletive) hand go!”
Jalwan: “Put my mom on the phone.”
Caller: “Man, guess what? I’m going to start beating your mom, I’m going to start beating her right now.”
Jalwan: “Do not beat her. I just want to know if she’s OK.”
“I just had a vision of my mom being driven around Sarasota in a car with a gun to her head,” said Jalwan.
The man on the phone demanded that Jalwan send him money through a phone app.
Jalwan: “I can help you in any way you need, what can I help you do?”
Caller: “You got Cashapp or PayPal?”
Jalwan had trouble remembering his passwords, yet he could still hear the woman, he believed to be his mother, screaming in the background.
The man on the phone got impatient.
Caller: “Don’t test me, bro.
Jalwan: “I’m not testing you, I just want to know that my mom’s OK.”
Caller: “Man, she going to be all right. She going to be all right, but she ain’t going to be all right if you (expletive) around and you don’t (expletive) help me, bro.”
The man threatened to pistol whip Jalwan’s mom.
Caller: “If I see the police, I’m going to kill myself too, but I’m going to take her (expletive) out.
Jalwan: “Please don’t do that, my mom’s been through a lot. I’m going to help you out.”
“I had handed my wife my daughter’s iPad and I said ‘Go FaceTime my brother in the other room.’ He lives near my mom, I said ‘Tell him what’s going on,” he said.
Caller: “Bro, I’m going to tell you one more time. She ain’t going to be all right if you don’t hurry the (expletive) up.”
Jalwan: “I reset the password.”
“My brother calls my mom and my mom is at home safe and sound,” Jalwan found out from his wife.
Just before Jalwan got ready to send money, he realized it’s a scam and got more aggressive with the guy, who then hung up.
“Put my mom on the phone right now before I send you any money,” he said.
Jalwan called the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, but because his mom was safe and he did not send any money, they say no crime was committed.
He did call his wireless provider and filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission.
According to the FBI, scammers try to keep the victim on the phone for a long time so they cannot contact their loved ones or law enforcement.
Click here for more information about what the FBI says you should do if you become a virtual kidnapping victim.