Rowdy Gaines may have come out victorious over stiff competition in Olympic swimming lanes, but he's now warning people everywhere about an elaborate kidnapping scheme his family fell for earlier this month.
The three-time Olympic gold medalist was targeted earlier this month when he received a phone call while on a way to a movie with his wife saying his daughter was being held hostage.
“They said they were going to kill her,” he told FOX35.
Gaines said a man over the phone claimed he had kidnapped his daughter Madison, who is a college student in Colorado. When Rowdy and his wife Judy told the mysterious caller to put their daughter on the line, they were shocked to hear her voice.
"I heard her voice and I said, 'Are you okay?' 'Yes but I need help,' and then they cut her off right away,” he said.
It turned out that Madison was not with any kidnapper, but instead was on the phone with the same person or group of people targeting her father.
"They knew I was an Olympic swimmer, they knew her address, they knew so many things about her,” said he told FOX35.
In a video posted to Facebook chronicling her experience, she said that the phone call she received came from her local police department, which claimed she'd missed a jury duty summons and faced possible arrest.
"She said, right now you have a warrant out for your arrest,” Madison said.
By the time that police in Orlando got involved, Rowdy and his wife avoided paying out any money but Madison ended up sending the scammers about $700.
Police told the family that Madison’s social media or another online account were likely hacked, and whoever placed the calls likely got all of their information from there. The family, now traumatized by the entire experience, are now warning others about the scams.
"This is a completely different type of evil,” he said.