Police departments around the state are warning residents of a scam in which a caller claims to have kidnapped your child.

It's every parent's nightmare. Someone calls and tells you they have your child and now they want ransom money. This is what's happening across the state. To make it even scarier, you can hear a child screaming in the background.

Now, this scam obviously doesn't work if your kid's standing in front of you. But if they're at school or a friend's house, it would be absolutely terrifying. So area police departments have suggestions on ways to thwart the scammers.

Police advise asking the scammers for a password that you've set up with your child, or for your child's middle name. The caller won't know the answer and will hang up. The calls were coming from the number 52 656-322-5469 on Tuesday, but that could change today.

Ellsworth Police say this is a great time to talk to your children about safety issues.