Coral Gables doctor’s quick thinking quells phone scam

The man on the phone told Dr. Carlos Wolf that he was holding his daughter hostage, and that he would cut off her finger if Wolf didn’t fork over $50,000.

To convince the plastic surgeon even further, a woman screaming in the background at one point took the phone and mumbled unintelligibly.

But the quick-thinking Wolf managed to keep the would-be kidnapper on the line for six or seven minutes — long enough to call and text his daughter and make certain she was fine.

Still, Wolf said whoever was on the other end of the phone and called his Coral Gables office Thursday did their homework. He said they knew where he worked and that he had a daughter, but they didn’t seem to know her name.

“It was really frightening,” Wolf said. “Finally, toward the end, my daughter called.”

Police say it’s an old scam they believe originated in Puerto Rico in 1999. From time-to-time it pops up locally, and all around the country. They believe the call to Wolf came from overseas.

Police said they haven’t noticed an uptick in the phone scam this year, but still warn residents to contact them if they receive a call. Being able to contact your child quickly is also helpful.

“It goes in waves,” Coral Gables police spokeswoman Kelly Denham said. “We haven’t had a complaint in a couple of years.”