Virtual Kidnapping Scam
Even more reports of this horrifying scam are surfacing all over the country.
Who Is It Targeting: Parents and grandparents
What Is It: An extortion scam
What Are They After: This scam has been around for quite some time, but it usually targets grandparents due to their age, the likelihood they don’t see their grandkids every day, and even the fact that they are less likely to have a cell phone to check up on someone. Now, however, a Montgomery County school district has warned its parents about the scam after at least ten households were targeted.
A kidnapping scam occurs when someone calls and tells you that they have your loved one. Failure to pay the ransom will result in harm. In this recent version, parents were called and told their children had been taken. They even reported hearing a child screaming in the background, just to lend credibility and fear.
How Can You Avoid It:
- The FBI offers this information about what to do in the event of an extortion scheme like this.
- If you’re concerned that the call could be genuine, play along until you can verify that your loved one is safe.
- Be aware that many scams escalate during tax return season, as scammers know you may have just received your refund.
If you think you may be a victim of identity theft, contact the Identity Theft Resource Center for toll-free, no-cost assistance at (888) 400-5530. Find more information about current scams and alerts here. For full details of this scam check out this article from Bethesda Magazine.
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