ATLANTA - It was a terrifying ordeal for a metro Atlanta man after he says thieves tried to extort him by pretending they had kidnapped his sister over the weekend.
Josh Doughtie told Channel 2’s Justin Wilfon that he was out having a good time with his friends and family when the phone rang.
He said he couldn’t believe what he heard on the other end.
“It came up on my phone as 'Megan Doughtie' or Megan, my sister. At first, it almost sounded like a butt dial. A minute of some ruffling,” Doughtie said. “I heard a man come on the phone and they said, 'Is this Josh? Is this Josh?' I’m like, 'Yeah.' They said, 'Megan is in some trouble.'”
The phone call came from what appeared on his phone as his sister’s number. After a few minutes of talking, the callers delivered some shocking news.
“That’s when they told me they had kidnapped my sister and they were going to rape her and kill her,” Doughtie said.
He said he could hear a woman crying in the background.
“Panic, yes, exactly, the fact that it was a call from my sister’s phone,” Doughtie said.
But later in the 15-minute phone call, Doughtie’s panic turned to suspicion when the supposed kidnappers asked for only $900 and wouldn’t let him talk to his sister.
So, he hung up and called his sister’s husband and quickly found out it was all a hoax.
“He picked up and I said, 'Are you with Megan?' and he said, 'Yeah, she’s upstairs taking a nap.'
I was like, 'Can you go upstairs to make sure she’s upstairs?' Went up there and she was just fine.”
He believes the thieves used some sort of phone cloning technology to replicate his sister’s number.
Doughtie isn't the only victim. A woman named Cathy reached out to Wilfon about her similar story.
“I was standing in my hallway and my phone rang. And it was my daughter," she said.
And with that, one of the worst hours of her life began.
Cathy, who does not want us to use her last name, quickly discovered the person calling from her daughter’s number --- wasn’t her daughter.
“There was a gentleman using very violent language, telling me my daughter had been in the wrong place at the wrong time and that if I wanted to see her alive again, I would do exactly as he said," she said.
While Cathy said she thought it could be a scam, the supposed kidnapper was convincing.
"He said I’m not going to let you talk to her but he said I can tell you what she looks like," she said.
That’s when Cathy told me she decided to follow the supposed kidnapper’s demands. She drove to a store where she bought $1,500 worth of money cards and gave the card numbers to the kidnapper over the phone.
“The whole time he’s talking to me in very angry words,” she said.
She could also hear what sounded like the kidnappers doing things to her daughter in the background.
It’s very similar to another case we told you about in Chamblee over the weekend, when another caller said he kidnapped a man’s sister.
But just like in that case, Cathy’s case turned out to be a scam.
“The scammer then said, we don’t have your daughter. We got you. And hung the phone up," she said. “I really felt violated. It was like they entered my life, in a manner that was very violent and very frightening.”
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