SCAM ALERT: Kidnapping Scams

By NBPD Crime Prevention

Last week, the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) received a call from a resident who was on the phone with an individual claiming that they had kidnapped her housekeeper and demanding $10,000. The resident was clearly distressed, and Dispatch sent an officer to the house to get more information and assist the resident. The officer was able to make contact with the housekeeper over the phone and confirm that she was safe and that the phone call was a scam.

If you have not heard of “Kidnapping Scams” before, here’s how they work:

You get a call, saying that a loved one has been kidnapped. The caller may make threats, demand money, or lead you to believe that your loved one is in danger.

Courtesy of NBPD

Scammers will play on your emotions and pressure you to send money before you have time to think

But…is the caller who you think it is? Scammers are good at pretending to be someone they’re not. They can be convincing: sometimes using information from social networking sites, hacking into email accounts, or manipulating Caller ID to make it seem more real. And they’ll play on your emotions and pressure you to send money before you have time to think.

Here’s what you can do:

1. Stop. Check it out.  Try to contact the loved one who you are concerned about, or call friends or another family member.

2. Keep your information (and your money) safe. Never give out personal identifying information, such as bank account or credit card account numbers, to anyone you do not know. And never send money to an unknown person.

3. Pass this information on to a friend. You may not have received one of these calls, but chances are that you know someone who will – if they haven’t already.

If you believe you’ve been the victim of a scam, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at https://reportfraud.ftc.gov/#/.

For more information on various scams, see the Federal Trade Commission resource page at https://consumer.ftc.gov/features/pass-it-on.

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