JAMES CITY COUNTY, Va. — James City County police are warning residents of a phone scam where they say a person from a ghost number sends threatening text messages with personal details about you, demanding money.
A viewer contacted News 3, saying she received the threats.
Now, she's scared for her life after receiving the threats.
"The messages were very gruesome. The messages had pictures of missing body parts, a male with his head chopped off," she said. "They sent me threatening messages, they had pictures of me, they had my address. They know where I live. It’s crazy because I don’t know these people."
The woman, who spoke with WTKR on the condition of anonymity, said a man called and sent several texts demanding money or she would be killed. She received these texts with pictures of guns.
She also received this message: “Are you going to pay up or do you want trouble."
Another message contains her address and pictures of her family members.
"I'm upset and depressed because I don’t know what’s next," the woman said. "I’m scared to come out of my home."
The woman reported it to the James City Police Department.
Here’s why police are calling it a scam.
"When we return the phone calls or look up the number, the number is a ghost number or computer-generated number," said Lieutenant Thomas Johnson with the James City County Police Department. "We’ve had several others this year in the same fashion. The number of total scams is skyrocketing this year."
Police say the scammers are getting the information through social media.
"Especially the pages that are not secure," Johnson said. "When you accept people that are not in your general circle or family members, they screenshot or download your photos."
Police say once the scammer gets your name from social media, they can then get your address from address lookup websites.
The woman says she’s cut back on social media.
"I’m not on it as much as I use to be, because of this," she said.
If you receive threatening messages from an unknown number, James City County Police urge you to contact police immediately at 757-566-0112 or through their online reporting service