Jeff Weber was driving his work vehicle in Ogden, Utah, when his phone rang from an unknown number. He was hesitant to answer, but on the caller’s second attempt, he picked up. Nothing prepared him for what he was about to hear on the other end of the line.
Jeff was shocked to hear the sound of a young girl crying. “Daddy, daddy I’m scared,” she said. Second later, a man got on the phone and said he’d kidnapped Jeff’s 13-year-old daughter — and if he ever wanted to see her again, he would not tell anyone or hang up.
Terrified, Jeff asked the caller specific questions about his daughter and asked to speak with her again. But the man refused, and doubled-down on his threats.
“It scared me to death,” Jeff told KTXL. “The guy says, ‘You know I’ll kill her. You’ll never see her again. You’ll be paying for a funeral.’”
Jeff and his coworkers were able to discreetly get a hold of his wife, LeeAnn. She confirmed their daughter was safe at school.
Finally, Jeff felt secure enough to hang up the phone. He learned this was all part of a sick scam called “virtual kidnapping.” Unfortunately, it’s becoming a common tactic in which “kidnappers” try to make victims feel so helpless they have no choice but to do what the caller says.
Now, the Weber family has an important message, should this happen to other parents. “Keep the caller on the phone as long as possible. Say whatever you have to, do not hang up, and find a way to also call police and call your son or daughter to make sure they are safe and where they are supposed to be.”