Saunders County authorities say bogus "ransom scams" have targeted about a dozen residents. Sheriff Kevin Stukenholtz says the callers are "very aggressive and intimidating."
He says the callers tell the victims "we have your son, he's gone too far this time, he owes us too much money. You can either pay us the $4,000 that he owes us or we're going to start breaking legs," Stukenholtz says.
The disturbing calls to parents also include orchestrated screams in the background. Stukenholtz says the scammers have been successful in collecting money by using threats of having a child injured or killed.
He says the callers also demand that the victim stay on the line until a victim drives to Walmart to get a money order to pay the fake ransom. "I want to hear you walk out your front door, I need to hear the door close behind you, I need to hear your car start," Stukenholtz says.
He says several people have filed reports and a couple residents have lost thousands of dollars. Stukenholtz reminds residents that if you get a call like that from an unknown number it's likely a scam and it's best to hang up.