This Frightening 'Virtual Kidnapping' Phone Scam Targets Parents
We learned earlier today about a dangerous new Facebook scam, but here's a phone scam that's even more disturbing and frightening.
Here’s how it works: A parent receives a call that begins with the sounds of a child crying or saying that they have been kidnapped.
A stranger then takes over the call and demands a ransom for the child.
The scammer then tells the parent to wire money to a specific location.
Authorities say that these types of scammers are designed to catch parents off guard and prey on their emotions.
Here are some ways police say you can protect yourself, according to Fox 5.
- If someone threatens a lawsuit or arrest if you do not pay, call the police.
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Scammers play on your emotions to victimize you: Fear, worry, love, excitement, joy, embarrassment and they induce great stress. Do not be pressured by anyone to make a decision.
- Do not respond to unsolicited telephone offers (or e-mails).
- If someone wants to sell you something you didn’t plan to buy, say no and hang up.
- Never give out personal information over the phone; never “confirm” personal info, it is a trick to get it from you.
- Never pay/give money to someone promising you will get even more money back (or receive a free gift).
- Scammers have evolved with technology. They create fake websites, companies and e-mails so when you diligently research who they are, they appear real.
- Scammers also spoof their phone numbers so your caller ID will show a real law enforcement or government agency or company phone number. This way, when you research it, you find the number actually does belong to an agency, and drop your guard.
- Report anything suspicious to the police and/or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
- Join the National Do Not Call Registry and consider not listing your number in the phone book.
- Periodically research common scams online. Many sites such as the FTC, IRS and Federal Communications Commission contain information to help protect you.