HERNANDO COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — The Hernando County Sheriff’s Office is warning community members of a new scheme targeting parents with young children.

On Friday, April 21, deputies said the father of a Hernando County school student received a phone call from a number with a Mexico country code. Upon answering, the father recalled hearing a small child crying “Dad, they have me.”

Deputies said the father immediately called his child’s name to ask if they were alright.

A man on the other end of the line told the father “I have your child. How much money do you have to see the child alive?”

In the background, the voice of a small child could be heard screaming.

The sheriff’s office said the caller did not demand a specific amount of money, only asking how much the father was willing to give up. When the father tried to plead with the caller, the call was disconnected.

Deputies said the father immediately dialed the School Resource Deputy at his child’s school to confirm they were safe. The child was in fact safe and still at school.

“This appears to be a scam,” the sheriff’s office said. “Parents, if you receive a call of this nature, please do not provide the child’s name and/or your personal and/or banking information.”