Virtual Kidnapping Phone Scams – How To Protect Your Family
There is a scary new phone scam that is happening around the United States. You now need to be more careful than ever with your social media and what you’re sharing online. The FBI has been warning people about virtual kidnapping phone scams.
What Is A Virtual Kidnapping Scam?
You receive a call and someone says that they have your loved one. It could be your brother or sister, or son or daughter. The caller will claim that they’ll hurt your family member if they don’t receive a ransom immediately. They will demand that you wire them large amounts of money.
The caller will often know personal information like your family member names and the area that you live in. These criminals will gain this information via social media. It’s very important that you limit what you share online publicly. Only post information about yourself to people that you know.
You can check your privacy settings to make sure that you’re not oversharing. The less you share the safer you’ll be!
What To Do If You Get A Call Like This
The first thing you should do is try to contact the loved one who the kidnapper claims to have. While on the line try to text the person they say they have or call them.
Also try to ask for personal information that only the “kidnapped” person would know. Ask to speak to them if possible to make sure that they are okay. Oftentimes, there will be screaming in the background, but it’s important to try and verify the person’s identity.
Lastly you should contact the police. The caller will tell you not to, but in the case of a real or fake kidnapping you should always contact the authorities. Alert them to the situation and if you’re not sure whether or not it is a scam.
You should always avoid picking up calls from unknown phone numbers. Try to look up calls from mysterious numbers via a caller ID app before answering.