Virtual Kidnappings

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Virtual kidnappings are a thing. Listen to this latest scam and beware.

Someone calls you and tells you that they have your child. They play a rushed clip of the child’s voice in distress and tell you not to call or text anyone but instead to get in the car and drive to the bank and withdraw money for ransom and wire it with a money telegram service.

In reality, they do not have your child but play on your paranoia to force you to follow their orders and not verify. The FBI only recently began to call these “virtual kidnappings” and says that they are “telephone extortion schemes.” Cases like these doubled in 2020 and they can involve not just children but also elderly parents and spouses who were never abducted.

“It’s literally cold-calling,” one FBI agent said. “We’ll see 100 phone calls that are total failures, and then we’ll see a completely successful call. And all you need is one, right?”

The FBI says that the scammers could use deepfake technology to simulate your loved one’s voice. So how do you not be that one that falls for it? The FBI says to “just hang up” but how are you going to do that when you can’t be sure that someone doesn’t have your child?

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