World News

Watch Out for ‘Virtual Kidnapping’ Scam Targeting Families

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Tony Maples Photography


The FBI wants to warn families of criminals calling and saying they’ve kidnapped a family member, when in fact, all they’re doing is trying to scam the panicked person on the receiving end of the phone call into sending money.

ABC 13 writes that one woman received a call from a scammer who said they were a paramedic helping a young man. The scammer asked her leading questions that allowed him to “confirm” to her it was her brother. Afterwards, he was able to call her father and use the information she gave him to say he had kidnapped the brother/son. Luckily, the father called his son’s cell before he gave the “kidnapper” any money and heard that he was perfectly fine.

Last month, NBC Washington reported that several people with children at Montgomery County Public Schools were contacted by a kidnapping scammer, saying they took their kids. “The scammer calls from an unfamiliar number, possibly from an international area code, according to a letter sent to parents. The caller then claims that they have the victim’s child and some victims have reported hearing screaming in the background,” they write.

Authorities say to contact the police before wiring any money, and also, contact the child’s school or cell phone to see if they’re safe.