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  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 14, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: kidnapping, , ,   

    Victim held hostage in romance scam 

    Victim held hostage in romance scam

    When we’ve discussed romance scams in the past, we always mention the potential financial and emotional toll it can take on its victims. What we haven’t mentioned is the physical toll when it comes to the safety of romance scam victims.

    If you’re unfamiliar with what a romance scam is, it’s when a scammer poses online as someone their not and luring victims in with the prospect of a romantic relationship. When the scammer has fully fooled their victim into believing they’re in an authentic relationship, the scammer will start asking their victim for money. Previous romance scams have seen victims lose anywhere from thousands of dollars to literally over a million dollars.

    Red flags that could indicate a romance scam is if the person keeps giving excuses as to why they can’t meet you in person. Another red flag can be if the person claims to be working or stationed overseas. Romance scammers often pose as American military members and steal the photos of active military personnel.

    Recently, an American woman who was caught up in a romance scam was rescued from her captors who had allegedly perpetrated a romance scam on her. The woman was lured to Nigeria with the promise of marriage. She actually married the man who was scamming her. After the marriage, the scammer was said to have taken control of all her financial accounts including her retirement account. The victim was held captive by her scammer for 16 months in a hotel room. This type of captivity is not unheard of as authorities rescued a woman from the Philippines who had been held in Nigeria for six months.

    Again, we can’t stress this enough that anybody from any cultural, financial, or educational background can be a victim of a romance scam. We’ve seen people from widows/widowers to corporate CEOs who have been taken in romance scams. Now, with the added danger of being held captive being thrown into the mix, you should be more cautious than ever when it comes to making relationships online.

    If you think you or someone you know may be the victim of a romance scam, the Federal Trade Commission has a great website on how to recognize a romance scam. Don’t let your heart trick you into making dangerous decisions.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: kidnapping, ,   

    Scammer tries to claim missing man was kidnapped 

    Scammer tries to claim missing man was kidnapped

    In Cincinnati, a woman has been dealing with tragedy on two fronts. Two years ago, her brother went missing and hasn’t been seen or heard from since. Last year, her great-niece accidentally drowned and is fighting for her life in the hospital. You might think that a person undergoing such hardships might be considered off-limits to scammers but you’d be mistaken. This is exactly the type of person that scammers are looking for. They prey upon the emotionally vulnerable hoping that their mental state will cause them to leave their guard down and fall for their scam.

    Because this woman’s grand-niece is still in the hospital, she’s been trying to raise money for medical expenses through GoFundMe which many people with rising medical costs do in our country. The woman was able to raise several thousand dollars through the fundraising platform. This attracted the attention of a scammer who obviously didn’t care what depths they had to stoop to. The scammer sent her text messages saying that they had kidnapped her missing brother. They asked for the GoFundMe money for his release. They even sent her a photoshopped picture of her brother’s face with duct tape over his mouth.

    Thankfully, the woman had the resolve to take the messages to the police who indicated to her that the picture had been obviously edited. She texted the scammer back and said she couldn’t access the money and the messages stopped.

    As we have discussed in our previous posts about virtual kidnappings, kidnappings for ransom are quite rare in the United States. In most cases, the supposed victims of these scams are just fine and are in no danger. However, since her brother was missing it added a layer to the scam. She absolutely did the right thing in taking the text messages to police.

    Even if you’re currently under great emotional stress when approached by one of these scams, always take a step back and try to think rationally about what you can do. With virtual kidnapping scams, your best bet is to always try to get someone else to contact the supposed kidnap victim to make sure they’re ok. If you’re ever unsure what to do, you can always go to the police.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 9, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: kidnapping, , ,   

    Father almost falls for kidnapping scam 

    Father almost falls for kidnapping scam

    One of the cruelest scams that we’ve ever posted about has to be the virtual kidnapping scam. The scam entails receiving a phone call from someone who claims to have kidnapped one of your loved ones. The scammers may even have someone with them acting like the person they claim to have kidnapped. Due to the potential harm that could come to your loved one, rational thinking gets thrown out the window. You’re then instructed to have the ransom wired somewhere before your loved one will be released. After you give the scammers the money is when you find out that no one has been kidnapped at all.

    While many of us are aware of this scam, a hard-working father had to find out about this scam the hard way. The home inspector received a call from someone claiming to have kidnapped his daughter. He even had heard a voice that resembled his daughter calling out for help. The supposed kidnappers told the man that they would kill his daughter if he did not wire them $1,000. Luckily, the man had the wherewithal to write a note to a client he was with for them to call the police. When the situation was related to law enforcement they advised the man to try to call his daughter on another phone. Sure enough, his daughter was fine and had not been in any danger.

    Kidnapping for ransom is quite rare in the United States and is more of a Hollywood trope. However, it’s understandable how a high-pressure situation like this could lead to even the savviest people to fall for such a scam. If you were ever to receive one of these phone calls and you don’t want to take the chance that a loved may be in danger, do what this father did. Get access to another phone and call the person who is the supposed victim. The odds are pretty good that they will actually be safe and sound. Whenever you receive a high-pressure call that requires you to take some financial action like this, take a moment to gather your thoughts before making any decisions that could cost you a fortune.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on April 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , Johnny Barker, Kevin Garcia-Boettler, kidnapping, , ,   

    Arrests made in the craigslist disappearance of Okla. men 

    Arrests made in the craigslist disappearance of Okla. men

    There’s been an update to yesterday’s story about the disappearance of two men from Moore, Oklahoma, who went missing after an alleged craigslist transaction. Sadly, the bodies of 21-year-olds Alize Smith and Jarron Moreland were found in a pond with both men having been shot to death. Three suspects have been arrested and charged in their murders, and they are 22-year-old Kevin Garcia-Boettler, 43-year-old Johnny Barker, and the 16-year-old brother of Garcia-Boettler.

    According to police, Moreland and Smith were said to be selling a gun on craigslist and the trio of suspects were meeting with the two men to purchase the gun. Once Moreland and Smith approached the suspects’ van, one of the suspects claims they heard a gun being cocked by one of the victims. This resulted in one of the suspects firing on the two men, killing them both. Tragically, this could have all been prevented.

    Craigslist’s terms of service forbids firearms from being sold or traded on their site, yet it happens all the time. The problem with craigslist is the usual one as they hardly ever do any kind of moderation on their site for any kind of illegal items or sales. Instead, they rely on their users to flag any kind of inappropriate ad, the same users who are posting the illegal ads to begin with. This is akin to the inmates running the asylum. Craigslist has the ability to screen for ads like this as they have done so in the past with unlocked iPhones when that was still illegal. Yet they allow guns to change hands without even batting an eye.

     
  • Geebo 9:01 am on April 18, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , kidnapping,   

    Two men missing after possible craigslist abduction 

    Two men missing after possible craigslist abduction

    Over this past weekend, two Oklahoma families are experiencing their worst nightmares after members of their families disappeared during what was believed to be a craigslist transaction. 21-year-olds Alize Smith and Jarron Moreland were reportedly abducted from a supermarket parking lot in Moore, Oklahoma, by two men in a white van. Shots were also said to have been fired during the abduction and a bloody gun was found at the scene.

    This was no midnight meeting either as the two men met their purported abductors at 6:00 PM on a Saturday in a busy parking lot. This is the definition of a well-lit public place during the day. Sadly, these precautions weren’t enough as their captors committed a brazen daylight attack against the two victims. Police are looking to the public for help in finding the two victims.

    Anyone who knows the whereabouts of Smith and Moreland is asked to call the Moore Police Department at (405)793-5171.

    As we have stated in the past, we believe the safest place to conduct any kind of classifieds transaction is at your local police department as many stations across the country are now encouraging citizens to use their locations to conduct business safely. I understand there are segments of the population who don’t trust police and many have good reason to be fearful. However, it may be worth putting those fears aside in order to be able to go home to your family.

    Our thoughts go out to the families of Mr. Smith and Mr. Moreland, and we are hoping for their safe return.

     
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