PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - A Phoenix man wants to warn other people after scammers called him and told him they had his son and wouldn't let him go until they got their money.
"I get a call on my cellphone and it's a weepy young man, sounding panicked, and it sounded like my son, and he started saying, 'Dad, Dad they're going to kill me!'" explained Stephen Grant.
Grant said the phone was taken away from the alleged victim and another person got on the line.
"The storyline I got was--you know we don't live in the best neighborhood--that my son was out front and had witnessed a drug deal gone bad and someone got shot. He supposedly took out his cellphone and took a picture and someone grabbed him," Grant said.
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The callers told him to not hang up.
"I was told that I could not hang up the phone. If I did, I would get him back in pieces."
Without the callers knowing, Grant put them on hold and tried to call his 30-year-old son, but he didn't answer.
"When he did not answer, and he usually does answer, it re-enforced that maybe this was true," Grant said. "It was one of the scariest times of my life."
Grant said the call was coming from Mexico.
Grant went to a bank and wired $1,800 to a bank account number the callers gave him.
"The wrestle going on the whole time of, 'This is a con. This is probably a con, most likely this is a con.' But if it isn't and I don't go through with it, I'll live with that on my conscience the rest of my life," Grant said.
Shortly after the wire transfer went through, his son called.
"It was still worth it to be conned versus having it really be my son," Grant said.
Grant reported what happened to Phoenix police, who told him this is not the first time they've heard of this sort of scam.
The FBI has a list on their website of what to do if you get one of these phone calls. They say the best course of action is to hang up and not engage the caller. They also suggest reaching out to the alleged victim yourself or request the callers if you can speak directly to your family member and ask a specific question only the victim would know the answer to.