Beware of the Virtual Kidnapping Ransom Scam
Last updated 7/16/2023 at 2:41pm | View PDF
The virtual kidnapping ransom scam typically begins with a phone call saying your family member is being held captive. The caller may allege your granddaughter has been kidnapped and you hear a female screaming in the background.
Another variant of the fraud has a family member being held because he or she caused an auto accident, is injured and won't be allowed to go to the hospital until damages are paid.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation advises that if you receive a phone call from someone who demands payment of a ransom for a kidnapped victim, the following actions should be considered:
• Try to slow the situation down. Request to speak to the victim directly. Ask, "How do I know my loved one is okay?"
• If the callers don't let you speak to the victim, ask them to describe the victim or describe the vehicle the victim drives, if applicable.
• Listen carefully to the voice of the kidnapped victim if he or she speaks.
• Attempt to call, text or contact the alleged victim via social media. Request that the victim call back from his or her cell phone.
• While staying on the line with the alleged kidnappers, try to call the alleged kidnap victim from another phone.
• To buy time, repeat the caller's request and tell them you are writing. down the demand.
• Don't directly challenge or argue with the caller. Keep your voice low and steady.
• Request the alleged kidnapper allow the victim to call you back from his or her cell phone.
• At the earliest opportunity, notify your local police department.