March 14 2017
FTC Says 'Kidnapping' Scam Has Resurfaced
A particularly malicious phone scam has resurfaced recently.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the ‘virtual child kidnapping’ scam has been reported by a number of people. In the scam a person receives a call from someone claiming to have kidnapped a member of the victim’s family and demands payment.
“You may even hear sounds of a child in distress in the background,” the scam warning states. “The scammer demands money immediately, often wanting money sent through a wire transfer service or by prepaid card. The scammer may even insist that you keep the call a secret and not alert the police.”
These calls are fake and law enforcement organizations, like the FBI, are aware of this type of scam.
The FTC says that if you get a call like this, resist the urge to send money immediately, no matter how dramatic the story.
“These scammers are good at pressuring you to send money before you have time to think,” the warning reads. “It’s natural to want to check on your child’s safety, even if your head tells you the call is fake. That’s OK. Contact your child or their school directly."