Consumers are reporting receiving calls that a loved one has been kidnapped in this terrifying scam.
SCAM: Virtual Kidnapping
WHO IT TARGETS: Anyone with a phone number
HOW IT WORKS: Scammers take another “shot in the dark” chance and dial numbers at random. If you answer the call, the thief will pretend to be a kidnapper and claim that he’s holding a member of your family for ransom. You’re instructed not to call the police, and told you must wire money to an account number provided in order to free your loved one. This one is so hard to dismiss. When you’re told your loved one is in grave danger, all reason and sensibility can understandably fly out the window. Some individuals who received this call recently even reported hearing women or children crying in the background, adding to the possibility that this was real.
HOW TO AVOID IT: Your very first step is to confirm that your loved one is safe. Once you know that your family member or friend is not in the hands of a criminal, it’s important to report this scam to your local police. Do not try to engage the scammer in a conversation in order to draw him out for incriminating information.