Panicked, she rushed out of her classroom. Along the way, other school employees were signaling her that they had called the police. With the extortionist still on the line, she told them to find her daughter.
Jumping in her car, she drove to her bank. At a stoplight, she texted her husband frantically trying to find out if Abby was OK. As she pulled up to the bank, the caller demanded she go inside and withdraw as much money as possible. Suddenly, her daughter was on the other line.
"And so now on my phone, pops up her picture because her picture is tied to her contact in my phone — and at that moment, I just break down. I am sobbing in the car in front of the bank because I have her on the phone."
She hung up, and was met outside her car by a police officer. She said the extortionist actually called back, but ended the call after the officer started talking to him.
The odds are that the extortionists won't get caught. There has been only one U.S. federal prosecution, which was in 2015 involving a Mexican national who was already in prison in Mexico on unrelated charges. The scheme covered more than 40 victims in several states.
In Orange County, where Pogue was victimized, the sheriff's office said it receives between five and six reports a month related to the extortion scheme.
CNBC contacted more than 40 police departments across the country, including those in the wealthiest ZIP codes and largest metropolitan areas, to see if they had received complaints. Thirteen police departments, including eight in California, plus those in Texas, Arizona, Massachusetts and Delaware have received complaints.
"[We] receive virtual kidnapping [complaints] on a continual basis. Generally they have been targeting individuals that are wealthy," said Sgt. Max Subin of the Beverly Hills Police Department.
The Delaware State Police had a sudden spike of nearly six calls earlier this year but Master Cpl. Michael Austin said the true number is probably higher. "A lot of them go unreported because it's sniffed out by the victim prior to it ... or people [who fall for the scheme] are too embarrassed."
Other departments also report that calls are on the rise. "We are investigating some instances of virtual kidnapping. As for a rise, this is a relatively new trend, so in that respect, we are seeing more recently than before," said Sgt. Vince Lewis of the Phoenix Police.
Even law enforcement officers have been victims.
As a retired Delaware state trooper, Al Ament is one of the last people you'd expect to fall for a virtual kidnapping scam, which is a testament to just how convincing it really is. When he picked up the phone in March of this year, he heard a voice that sounded just like his 38-year-old son, who happened to be on a honeymoon abroad.
"You don't know if it's real or not. You don't know if they've really kidnapped your family member or not," Ament said.
The man demanded Ament pay $4,000 in exchange for his son, and Ament said he quickly lost his temper. "I used direct language: 'If you harm my son, then I will hunt you down.' The conversation escalated into screaming, and I got to a point where he hung up on me."