A Madison man said his kids told him they received emails this week asking for ransom money for him, police said.

Madison police said  a 71-year-old father of four reported to police that his family and friends said someone emailed them Wednesday from his account saying he was being held hostage in California and he needed money.

The man wasn't in California, he told police. He concluded his email must have been hacked and tried to sign in but couldn't.

"My email address had been stolen by somebody. I could not believe it," he told police. "I have heard other people complaining that their emails were hacked. I did not know it could happen to me."

He worked with his service provider to set up a new password and security settings, and he made sure his bank accounts were secure, according to the report.

"So this thing they call email hacking is real," the man told police. He also filed a complaint with Wisconsin's Consumer Protection Hotline.