Post Content

 

shutterstock_147597512

Virtual kidnapping scams aren’t just terrifying; they can be costly. A virtual kidnapping scam occurs when a scammer calls your number and tells you he has kidnapped your loved one. The scammer threatens injury or worse unless the victim pays a ransom. Most consumers are inclined to hang-up and pass the call off as a despicable hoax, but many consumers fall for the ruse, paying hundreds or thousands of dollars in order to help their loved one.

What makes this scam effective?

 

What should consumers do if contacted by a scammer claiming to have kidnapped a family member? The FBI offers the following tips:

  • Notify the police. You can use a different phone line, text or email a friend and ask them to call 911 for you, or flag down a neighbor or passing motorist. Don’t be embarrassed—the police will want to know what happened even if it is a scam.
  • Check where the call is coming from. The FBI warns that the calls generally come from an outside area code, not the kidnapped victim’s phone.
  • Attempt to get in contact with your loved one. Ask them to call you using their own cellphone and make sure you speak with them directly.
  • Remain calm. The scammers are counting on your fear for your family member’s safety to get you to pay-up without thinking. Experts suggest demanding to speak with your family member or asking a question that only they would know the answer to. Refrain from sharing any information about your loved one–the scammers could use it to make their scam more believable.

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s  Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for all Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws, data breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Program and the state’s Do Not Call Registry.

Written By:

Recent Posts

Beware of Toxic Hand Sanitizer posted on Jun 23

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning consumers of nine hand sanitizers that contain toxic ingredients. The agency said the products, which are manufactured in Mexico by Eskbiochem SA de CV, contain elevated levels of methanol or wood alcohol. Methanol should not be   …Continue Reading Beware of Toxic Hand Sanitizer

Massachusetts Banks and Credit Unions Deliver on Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Promise posted on Jun 18

Massachusetts Banks and Credit Unions Deliver on Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Promise

  Intended as a lifeline to all Americans amidst the pandemic crisis facing our nation and the world, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by Congress with overwhelming, bipartisan support and signed into law by the president on March 27th,   …Continue Reading Massachusetts Banks and Credit Unions Deliver on Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Promise

Coping with Food Insecurity posted on Jun 5

Coping with Food Insecurity

Eating well is one of the most important things we can do to take care of ourselves and our families. For many families in the Commonwealth coping with the loss of income due to the pandemic food insecurity has become a real threat. According to   …Continue Reading Coping with Food Insecurity