Imposters will pretend to be anyone to get you to send them money. Recently, reports of the virtual child kidnapping imposter scam have resurfaced. The scam begins with a call from someone claiming to have kidnapped a child in your family.
You may even hear sounds of a child in distress in the background. The scammer demands money immediately, often wanting money sent through a wire transfer service or by prepaid card. The scammer may even insist that you keep the call a secret and not alert the police.
These calls are fake and law enforcement organizations, like the FBI, are aware of this type of scam.
If you get a call like this, resist the urge to send money immediately, no matter how dramatic the story. These scammers are good at pressuring you to send money before you have time to think. How do they know your information? Scammers will search the internet and social media sites to get personal information.
It’s natural to want to check on your child’s safety, even if your head tells you the call is fake. That’s OK. Contact your child or their school directly. Then you can report this fraud at ftc.gov/complaint.
by Alesha Hernandez
Consumer Education Specialist, FTC
Photo: Rolex Dela Pena/EPA