NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A warning out of Mt. Juliet after a mother received a text threatening her little boy’s life. The text from a Nashville area code revealed specific information about the family.
“When I opened it, it said I know what your son’s name is…and they knew his name. And I know you live at, and it had my entire street address and then a pause, and then they sent the next message, and it said and I’m coming, I love children that are 8 years old,” the mother who doesn’t want to be identified for safety reasons told News 2.
Hoping it was a sick joke, the mother responded with “Who is this?”
“Their immediate response was how much is your son’s life to you,” she said as she began to tear up.
The response left her mind frantically racing with emotions.
“I went from shock to just bursting into tears. He’s my pride and joy, ya know. I mean if anybody where to threaten him in any way, the momma bear is going to come out in me and I’m going to protect him with everything I have,” she explained.
The text continued with images of four little boys who she says their family doesn’t know. “I don’t know anyone that’s ever got a message like this.”
The mother quickly secured her house and called police. “It’s just like a movie, like everything that you see in those scary movies about kidnappings and things like that, all of that floods your brain and you are just like what can I do. Do I need to hunker down…or do I need to get him out of here, stuff like that.”
She said police traced the number to a phone in New Jersey, saying it’s likely a scam. “It’s not just something you can shrug off as a mother and say oh that’s not real, because you never know.”
Police told her to not engage in the text conversation and to block the number. They told News 2 the investigation is still open, and they have since stepped up patrols around the family’s house.
Officials with Better Business Bureau say this is a scam they’ve been seeing more of in the last year.
“Unfortunately, this is a very frightening scam because it involves the safety of one’s child. A couple of things, though, this is really an opportunity for them to extort money and, you know, unfortunately when it’s involving your children you are more likely to fall victim,” said Robyn Householder, President, and CEO of BBB in Middle TN.
She advises being cautious as to how much personal information you share on social media and to change passwords often. Householder says if you get a text like this don’t engage, don’t click any links, block the number, call police and report it to the BBB’s scam tracker.