DON’T FALL FOR KIDNAPPING SCAM

DON’T FALL FOR KIDNAPPING SCAM

The San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department is warning residents about a frightening scam targeting Morongo Basin residents. On Friday, a Yucca Valley woman called deputies to report that she had received a phone call from an unknown man who said her mother had been kidnapped. Deputies contacted San Bernardino police, who made a welfare check on the mother, who was alive and well and unaware that she had been the subject of a kidnapping scam. Managing editor Tami Roleff offers the following tips on how to avoid being taken by this kidnapping scam…

Law enforcement agencies have been aware of virtual kidnapping fraud for at least two decades. Although virtual kidnapping takes on many forms, it is always an extortion scheme—one that tricks victims into paying a ransom to free a loved one they believe is being threatened with violence or death. Unlike traditional abductions, virtual kidnappers have not actually kidnapped anyone. Instead, through deceptions and threats, they coerce victims to pay a quick ransom before the scheme falls apart. To avoid becoming a victim, look for these possible indicators: Callers go to great lengths to keep you on the phone, insisting you remain on the line. Calls do not come from the supposed victim’s phone. Callers try to prevent you from contacting the “kidnapped” victim. Calls include demands for ransom money to be paid via wire transfer to Mexico; ransom amount demands may drop quickly. If you receive a call about a potential kidnapping, contact the Sheriff’s Department at 760-366-4175.

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