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Kidnapping Scam

By Scam Awareness | November 18, 2016

Parents: one of the more unconventional scams out there is aimed at collecting ransom money for your 'virtually kidnapped' children. Nothing is more terrifying than the thought of your children being unsafe, and scammers are using this as bait to trick parents into paying thousands of dollars.

Virginia, California, Texas and Arizona are just a few of the states that have experienced cases of 'virtual kidnapping' scams. Universities such as Georgetown, Arizona State, George Mason and University of Texas at Arlington have already issued warnings about this scam since it seems to be on the rise.  

Here's how it tends to play out: parents receive a call from a scammer, who claims to have taken their child hostage. Sometimes, to make the scam even more convincing, the scammers are able to provide details such as the child's name. Next, the scammer demands money in exchange for the child's release.  

This is where parents need to be careful. If you receive a call demanding ransom, immediately try to contact your child on a separate device-by texting or sending a message on social media, for example. Alert your local authorities as well, and they will be able to guide you through the call. Remember, it's never a good idea to transfer money to a complete stranger and scammers are using scare tactics to lure you into doing so! 

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