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Rancho Palos Verdes Estates Police Friday warned residents that scammers have been calling people and falsely claiming that their children have been kidnapped, and demanding ransom money.

“The suspects claim to be part of a Mexican cartel, and demand a ransom in exchange for the life of the victim’s child,” according to a police statement. “On several calls, the suspects use a male or female voice, attempting to impersonate the kidnap victim to plead for help or cooperation with the demands.”

The suspects then ask the victims how much money they can get, and ask them to send the money — generally between $500 and $5,000 — via Western Union to a location in Mexico, police said.

Other recent scams have involved suspects calling people to say their grandchildren have been arrested, and bail or attorney fees must be sent, often via Western Union or Green Dot payment cards.

Anyone with information about such incidents was urged to call police at (310) 378-4211.

—City News Service

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