FBI warns of new fake kidnapping scam

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is warning residents across the country of a scam in which a caller claims to have kidnapped a relative for ransom.

According to the FBI, the calls generally don’t come from the supposed victim’s phone. Once in touch with a relative, the callers demand ransom money to be paid via wire transfer to Mexico. The callers don’t allow the relative to speak with the supposed victim, but they go to great lengths to keep the relative on the phone. 

The FBI offered the following tips for those who find themselves caught up in this scam:

  • In most cases, the best course of action is to hang up the phone.
  • If you do engage the caller, don't call out your loved one's name.
  • Ask questions only the alleged kidnap victim would know, such as the name of a pet. Avoid sharing information about you or your family.
  • Attempt to call, text or contact the supposed victim via social media. Request that the victim call back from his or her cell phone.
  • If you suspect a real kidnapping is taking place, or you believe a ransom demand is a scheme, contact your nearest FBI office or local law enforcement immediately. Tips to the FBI can also be submitted online at ic3.gov.

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