Authorities warn against kidnapping scam in Del.
On Tuesday, troopers offer tips to avoid becoming a victim of a scam, where all age groups may be targeted and extorted as a result of a fake kidnapping.
Delaware State Police say there has been a recent increase in reported incidents involving virtual kidnapping scam phone calls. Troopers say the most recent incidents were in New Castle County, but the statewide advisory is being issued in response to the influx of calls.
Authorities describe virtual kidnapping as an extortion scheme that tricks victims into paying a ransom to free a family member they believe is being threatened with violence or death. The kidnappers have not actually abducted anyone and DSP says they deceive and threaten the individual to get them to pay a quick ransom.
Law enforcement issued the FBI's tips for avoiding this type of scam:
Don't Become a Victim
The success of any type of virtual kidnapping scheme depends on speed and fear. Criminals know they only have a short time to exact a ransom before the victims unravel the scam or authorities become involved. To avoid becoming a victim, look for these possible indicators:
-Callers go to great lengths to keep you on the phone, insisting you remain on the line.
-Calls do not come from the supposed victim's phone.
-Callers try to prevent you from contacting the "kidnapped" victim.
-Calls include demands for ransom money to be paid via wire transfer; ransom amount demands may drop quickly.
If you receive a phone call from someone demanding a ransom for an alleged kidnap victim, the following should be considered:
-In most cases, the best course of action is to hang up the phone.
-If you do engage the caller, don't call out your loved one's name.
-Try to slow the situation down. Request to speak to your family member directly. Ask, "How do I know my loved one is okay?"
-Ask questions only the alleged kidnap victim would know, such as the name of a pet. Avoid sharing information about yourself or your family.
-Listen carefully to the voice of the alleged victim if they speak.
-Attempt to contact the alleged victim via phone, text, or social media, and request that they call back from their cell phone.
-To buy time, repeat the caller's request and tell them you are writing down the demand, or tell the caller you need time to get things moving.
-Don't agree to pay a ransom, by wire or in person. Delivering money in person can be dangerous.
For more information, visit the Federal Bureau of Investigation website.