Kidnapping scams, among others, continue

Kidnapping scams, among others, continue

For the past few weeks, we’ve been discussing scams that have been related to the coronavirus pandemic whether it’s directly or indirectly. While fears surrounding the pandemic have been a boon to many con artists, some are still running the same old scams without using coronavirus as a tool in their arsenal.

In Denver, the police have been receiving complaints about kidnapping scams taking place. This is when a scammer will call a victim and tell them that they’ve kidnapped a loved one. The scammers will then demand a ransom either through wire transfer, gift cards or other hard to trace payment options. The trick to this scam is that nobody has been actually kidnapped and the scammers are hoping the fear generated in the situation will cause the victim to pay the phony ransom. Often, these scammers are able to find the names of their pretend victims through social media making the threatening call more convincing. If you ever receive one of these phone calls, always get someone you trust to call the suspected victim while you keep the virtual kidnappers on the phone. In any case, you should always contact the police if you find yourself in the midst of this scam.

Two Chicago men were arrested in Boise, Idaho accused of a social media scam that cost victims thousands of dollars. The two men would allegedly take to social media and post the message “Who ready to get paid today? Text CASH NOW to [phone number redacted.] It’s legit… tell them I referred you.” Victims were said to be persuaded to hand over their debit card information including their PIN. Instead of getting paid, the two men would deposit phony checks into the victims’ accounts then withdraw the money before the bank would realize the checks were fake.

In Kentucky, scammers are posing as the state Lottery Commission and telling victims that they have won large prizes. The scammers will then either ask for ‘taxes’ on the prize or they’ll ask for bank information to send the phony prize. In either case, the victims end up losing money before it’s all over/. Keep in mind that when you purchase a lottery ticket you never give your contact information to the point of purchase so the Lottery Commission has no way of contacting you.

While these scams may bot be happening in your area now, it could only be a matter of time before they are.