SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) - Jillian Digris of Holyoke was stunned when she received a text message from a stranger, saying that her family member had been in a car accident and was seriously injured.
"I almost had a heart attack when I was at work, because I had just got to work," Digris said. "I almost had a heart attack!"
Digris went on to tell 22News that she was very upset about the whole thing, “I think that's such a wrong thing to do! Why would you make up a lie about someone being very injured?"
Springfield Police Sgt. John Delany told 22news they have received dozens of reports of very similar incidences, all from the same phone number; (978) 503-2107.
In another case a Kymberli Goddu, from Washington, told 22News she got a similar message from that same number, saying her sister was in danger. Goddu called the number and the caller said he had her sister in Springfield. Goddu told 22news the caller also said that he was holding her hostage and he would killer her if she didn't send money.
Springfield Police warn the callers are asking for as much as five thousand dollars. So far they have traced transactions to Puerto Rico, but are still working on how the callers are getting detailed information about victims' family members.
Some people in western Mass. told 22News if this happened to them, they would try and follow Springfield police Sgt. Daniel Reigner's advice to stay calm, make sure that your family member is safe, then call police.
"I woudn't be scared, I think I would call police and try and have them trace the number," Hank Hephy, from Northampton, said.
"I would first of all call my sister or brother, and I wouldn't be so sure to believe that person, but you never know when it happens to you," Mellissa White, from Springfield, said.