There’s been a recent uptick in the number of what authorities are calling “virtual kidnapping” extortion calls, during which anonymous callers — often from Mexico-based phones — target the 805 area code in hopes of tricking their victims into believing that a family member — often a daughter — has been kidnapped. “Most [of these] schemes use various techniques to instill a sense of fear, panic, and urgency in an effort to rush the victim into making a very hasty decision [to deliver ransom payment via wire transfer],” according to the Sheriff’s Office. The FBI, which in July made its first arrest in connection to these fake-kidnapping scams, recommends “that if you get a call like this, hang up, locate your family members, and call the police, in that order,” said Agent Erik Arbuthnot.
Uptick in Virtual Kidnapping Extortion Calls Across Santa Barbara
Thursday, November 30, 2017
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