August 21, 2018

FBI Warning about “Virtual Kidnapping”. The scheme only works when someone answers the phone and is so terrified by the thought of their loved one in danger that they believe the scam. The victim then gives the scammers information to work with. The scammers attempt to keep victims on the phone to avoid verifying their loved ones’ whereabouts or alerting the police.

What to Do:

  • Before hanging up the phone, evaluate the legitimacy of the kidnapping by assessing the situation, closely listen to the caller’s statements without providing details or identifying information.
  • Do get control of your emotions; slow the conversation down, and demand to speak with your loved one.
  • Ask questions only the alleged kidnap victim may know, such as the name of a pet, do not share personal information.
  • Listen carefully to the voice of the alleged victim, if you speak to him or her.
  • Attempt to contact the alleged victim via cell phone or text and request a call back from their own cell phone.
  • To buy time, repeat the caller’s request, ask the caller to repeat, tell them you are writing things down, and explain it will take time to get things in action.

If you suspect a real kidnapping is taking place or if you believe the ransom demand is a scheme, contact your nearest police department or FBI office immediately.

Contact FBI

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