“Virtual Kidnapping” Scam


Apparently scammers have stepped up the ante. They have now taken to calling and telling you that a family member has been kidnapped, holding you on the line to keep you from verifying that your loved one is, in fact, safe.

They have even been known to have a child in the background screaming and crying to further fluster you and keep you from thinking straight.

They then pressure you into making a wire transfer right then and there, giving you no time, keeping you frightened and not thinking straight.

Here’s what you should do if you get a call like this:

  1. Slow the conversation down. The scammer is trying to keep you off balance and frightened because that’s when you’re most likely to do as they say and transfer funds.
  2. Try to find out if the said family member is, in fact, safe. Get you spouse or someone else to call while you delay.
  3. Ask questions. The scammers will sometimes have some basic information that they’ve been able to gleam from your Facebook page but they most often won’t have details.
  4. Ask to speak to the person who has supposedly been kidnapped. Let them know that you aren’t going to send money without being certain.
  5. Most often, the phone number will be unlisted or show an international number. Be smart and don’t answer such calls.
  6. Finally, contact the police and let them know anything you can about the call.

Being aware of the scare scam is a huge part of the way we can defend ourselves such people. If I know that there are people out there trying to scare me this way than I’m much less likely to believe it and panic if the phone call comes.

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