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:
- 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.
- Try to find out if the said family member is, in fact, safe. Get you spouse or someone else to call while you delay.
- 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.
- 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.
- Most often, the phone number will be unlisted or show an international number. Be smart and don’t answer such calls.
- 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.