'Virtual kidnapping' scam targeting Central Florida families

Parents listen up: a new warning about criminals with a new way to come after your cash. They're pretending to be kidnappers who are holding your children for ransom.

It's called virtual kidnapping.

Cases happening in Southern California but there have been cases popping up in Central florida recently. 

Authorities say that parents will get a call, hearing their child's voice, and saying they have been kidnapped. The suspect then gets on the line demanding cash. 

Kathy Gross, a Laguna Beach resident, experienced it first hand.

"So i picked up the phone, and i heard my daughter's voice. It sounded exactly like her. She said 'mom i'm in trouble, they took me, I don't know where i am. I was speechless. She said 'mom' and I said 'oh my God, Jordan where are you' and she said 'I don't know, I'm in a van, there are no windows, I think I'm on the freeway.'"

Gross says she was 100 percent convinced that it was her daughter. She called police and found out that her child was safe at school.

But officers say other families have actually paid the callers money, sometimes thousands of dollars, thinking their kids were in real danger. 

Orlando's own Rowdy Gaines went through something similar just a few months back.

In November, he got a phone call from a so-called kidnapper who was saying the Olympic swimmer's daughter was being held for ransom.

The entire thing turned out to be fake.