What to do if you become the target of a 'kidnapping scam'

ByJason Knowles and Ann Pistone WLS logo
Saturday, March 2, 2024
What to do if cyber kidnapping scammers target you
Indiana Attorney General Todd Rokita has been warning local families about recent cyber kidnapping scams that use relatives' social media accounts.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Here's a quick tip to beware of false kidnapping schemes.

According to the Indiana Attorney General's Office, kidnapping scams are popping up all over the U.S.

If your child has traveled overseas for a school trip, a scammer might get a photo of them in a secluded area, from social media, and pretend to have kidnapped them.

After sending you the photo, they'll ask you to wire ransom money immediately. If you get a phone call or text message like this, try your best to stay calm and avoid arguing.

The Indiana Attorney General's Office said while staying on the line with the alleged kidnappers, try to call the alleged kidnapping victim from another phone or contact them through social media.

You can also ask to speak to the child directly. To buy time, repeat the caller's request and tell them you are writing down the demand, or tell the caller you need more time to meet their demands. Make sure to notify your local police department when you can.

More tips from Indiana Attorney General's Office to keep in mind:

  • Beware of incoming calls coming from an outside area code, sometimes from Puerto Rico with area codes 787, 939 and 85).
  • Try to slow the situation down. Calmly ask the caller, "How do I know my loved one is okay?"
  • Ask the alleged kidnapper to allow the victim to call you back from their personal cell phone.
  • If the callers don't let you speak to the victim, ask them to describe the victim or describe the vehicle the victim drives, if applicable.