KINGSTON, Ont. – Police are warning people to be on guard against fraudsters using Skype after a Kingston resident was convinced to send money to Lebanon.

Kingston police say the resident received a Skype video call Monday from a man identifying himself as a doctor being held prisoner at a hospital in Syria.

The supposed doctor stated that if $2,500 was not transferred to a local Western Union office in Lebanon, he would be beheaded by his captors.

Police say the ploy was realistic enough to convince the victim to wire some funds through Western Union, but the victim also contacted a local news agency and police to try to get help for the supposed doctor.

Kingston police were able to verify that the call was a known scam and the victim was able to contact Western Union and stop the money transfer.

Police say people should be extremely skeptical of such “emergency scams” in which callers claim to be a friend or relative in difficulty in a foreign country and ask for funds to be sent to them.