Parents, watch out for this frightening scam. The FBI says con artists use an array of tricks to convince parents that their children have been abducted. Then, they demand thousands of dollars in ransom.
How the Scam Works:
You answer the phone, and it's an unknown caller. This person claims to be holding your son or daughter for ransom. In order for your child to be released unharmed, you need to wire money to the kidnapper -- typically thousands of dollars.
Don't be scared into paying up. These scams vary, and con artists use a range of tricks to construct a convincing story. Scammers typically snoop on social media to get details about their victims' lives. They often work in teams; they may have someone pretend to be a friend of the "abductee," or even the son or daughter themselves. Scammers also try to keep victims on the phone until the money is wired. This prevents them from contacting the "abducted" family member.
Warning signs of a kidnap scam:
Always report threatening calls to the police. Help police find scammers and alert others by reporting these calls.
For More Information
Learn more about virtual kidnapping scams in this alert from the Federal Bureau of Investigation.