Kidnapped Relative: Phone Scam Overview
You may have seen news reports of phone scams involving a caller stating that a relative had been kidnapped. All over the country there have been stories of these frightening phone calls. Most recently there was a report of this scam outside of Boston.
This scam is very similar to the grandparent phone scam, in it the caller will claim to have their victim's son or daughter and that they will kill them if a ransom isn't paid. We'll go over this cruel scam and what you can do to protect yourself from it.
How Does the Kidnapped Relative Phone Scam Work?
Though there are many variations of this scam, this is the most typical scenario. Scammers will peruse social media for individuals who are on vacation in a foreign country, they will then find the phone number of their family and they will call the family member.
The caller will then say that they have the family member hostage, and if money isn't wired immediately they will kill them. The scammer is trying to make you panic in these situations and wire money without asking any questions.
How to Protect Your Family From This Scam
There are several ways in which you can protect your family in this situation.
Be careful who you share your social media with.
Though followers are great, sometimes they can be dangerous. Be selective of what you share online with strangers via your social media.
Protect your online information.
Keep your phone numbers private if possible, our site makes it easy to take control of your phone book listing and opt it out for privacy. You can see what information is available on you by running a Google search on your name and phone number.
Ask questions and give false information.
Try to keep calm and poke holes in the caller's story. If you can, try to get in touch with the person the kidnapper claims to have hostage while you're talking to the caller.
What to Do If You've Been Targeted
If you've been targeted by a kidnapped relative phone scam immediately report it to your local law enforcement. It's important to warn others of this scam. It's not as common as the IRS phone scam or the tech support scam, so many people will believe the caller without stopping to question the situation.
You can help warn others about this scam by leaving your feedback on the number used in our phone number tracing caller ID app or on our reverse phone lookup website. You can also help spread the word by sharing this article with friends and family.