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'Virtual Kidnapping' on the Rise

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  • 'Virtual Kidnapping' on the Rise

    According to the FBI, the scam of "Virtual Kidnapping" is on the rise in New York and elsewhere. The scam involves crooks making calls to people and claiming they have a loved one captured. Some even have muffled screams in the background to create the illusion of distress. The person receiving the call is tricked into paying large sums of cash. Details may be seen here. The FBI also has a release here.
    Zyni likes this.
    "Success is survival." ~ Leonard Cohen

  • #2
    It's sad what people are willing to do to scam others. Even if people suspect it to be a scam, they may not wanna risk somebodies life just because they don't trust the caller. It's a terrible scam, I hope the FBI will find the people behind this as soon as possible.

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    • #3
      How is that even feasible? Can't the person who's apparently kidnapped be contacted? Could someone explain?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by calicer1996 View Post
        How is that even feasible? Can't the person who's apparently kidnapped be contacted? Could someone explain?
        I suppose that the 'kidnappers' tell them to send the money RIGHT AWAY, in the very second, otherwise they will just shoot the person you love. People may panic? I am however not sure how they would have gotten the right number or name etc if they just randomly call. It sounds so suspicious reading about it! But if people fall for "You won a cruise, give me your credit card info!", I guess they could also fall for this?
        Zyni likes this.

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        • #5
          This is terrible! I haven't heard of this, but will definitely question a "kidnapper" unless I'm able to talk to my loved one. While no amount of money is worth more than their safety, no one wants to play into a mind game with a terrorist.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by cilaos View Post

            I suppose that the 'kidnappers' tell them to send the money RIGHT AWAY, in the very second, otherwise they will just shoot the person you love. People may panic? I am however not sure how they would have gotten the right number or name etc if they just randomly call. It sounds so suspicious reading about it! But if people fall for "You won a cruise, give me your credit card info!", I guess they could also fall for this?
            I think you are right. They catch people off guard and so most people's natural reaction is to panic and do whatever they can without thinking clearly. I am curious as to how they get the exact information needed to carry out this scam, such as knowing the name of the person they kidnapped and knowing that they would not be with their parent/guardian.

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            • #7
              While looking for more information on virtual kidnapping, I found this article from last year where scam artists were targeting physicians in Texas using the virtual kidnapping scam.
              Last edited by dillinger10; 01-19-2015, 04:30 PM.

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              • #8
                Ok, so based from the article, they target the illegal Hispanic immigrants so that they may be hesitant in asking for help from the police. I guess that's why many fell for it. If only they would target the white ones, then I think they would not be that successful.

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                • #9
                  I read this article detailing a high profile virtual kidnapping attempt that involved a high powered real estate scion.
                  The Douglas Elliman broker and real estate scion got a call at his office from a blocked number in December saying his brother, Brian Lorber, had been in a car accident, they’d kidnapped him, and Michael must pay them $2,000 in cash. They warned that if he tried to call Brian, they’d immediately kill him.
                  Michael, son of Douglas Elliman chairman Howard Lorber, told us, “It was the worst experience of my life. They told me Brian had been in a car accident, they’d kidnapped him, broken his hand, and I needed to meet them with $2,000 in cash to pay for the damage to their car. They said they had his cellphone and they’d shoot him in the head if I called him.”
                  Michael said at first he took it seriously and started heading to an ATM. “They said I had to stay on the phone, and if I dropped the call, they’d immediately shoot my brother. They said once they heard my car starting, they’d tell me where to meet with the money.” But before leaving his office, he passed a note to an aide who called Brian on another line. “Thankfully, he was in his office and he was fine. But even when I confronted them on the phone, they still threatened to kill him. Thank God I didn’t go and meet them.”

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by calicer1996 View Post
                    How is that even feasible? Can't the person who's apparently kidnapped be contacted? Could someone explain?
                    They wait till the victim is going to another place, then they call him up and get him to isiolate himself from his family and firends. Then they contact the family and friends and tell them the victim has been kidnapped. The family and friends try and contact the victim, and since they can not get ahold of him, they assume he is kidnapped.

                    It is easy to say we would not fall for it, but if people are making scary phone calls, who knows how one might react.
                    Zyni likes this.

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                    • #11
                      Oh my god this is absolutely disgusting. There are so many scams out there and these people need to be caught and stopped! But I don't get how this can work, if someone even gives someone a call on their land line, they would have to do a lot of research about our family to make it sound realistic. wouldn't our immediate reaction be to call them from our mobile to see if everything was okay. If they haven't actually been kidnapped then you would pretty much settle the matter there. I guess in situations like this we don't know how we would react. Thinking of this is scaring me!

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                      • #12
                        I don't know who would fall for this virtual kidnapping, there are many ways you would tell that is not real but just a scam, either way it's sad that people are scamming people through virtual kidnapping.

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                        • #13
                          That's a new one for me. Thankfully, I haven't had to deal with this kind of scam so far. For me it's bad enough to constantly get bothered by scammers who tell me that they need help transferring large amounts of money from Africa to accounts abroad. If I count all the alleged money that I would have received by now for assisting with the alleged fund transfers, I would be a multi-billionaire. I can't believe that people still fall for these scams. But it's even scarier to think about receiving a call one day from some clever scammers who know the names of your family members and friends, pretending to hold them captive.

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                          • #14
                            Ahh this..?? It has been going on for several years, they are also doing the same thing to computers, calling and identifying themselves as microsoft or some random trustable name ,you are forced to let them into your computer and they lock it up and want a ransome payment to release it.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by dillinger10 View Post
                              I think you are right. They catch people off guard and so most people's natural reaction is to panic and do whatever they can without thinking clearly. I am curious as to how they get the exact information needed to carry out this scam, such as knowing the name of the person they kidnapped and knowing that they would not be with their parent/guardian.
                              It's so easy to learn nearly anything about people these days that it's ridiculous. People post their entire life story, the minutiae of their daily experiences, that it would not be hard to find out what some people are doing or where they are going during any given hour. Status updates anyone?

                              I know it's hard to imagine for those of us who have a bit more common sense, but I'm sure you know people just like the description above. They make for easy targets. Sad but true.

                              I hope they are able to catch, and throw the book, at these terrible scammers. What an awful thing to do.

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