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Posted on: October 7, 2016

LCSO Warns Residents of Fake Kidnappers Scam

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 7, 2016

Contact: Kraig Troxell, Public Information Officer, 703-771-5278
[email protected]
Alex Kowalski, Public Information Officer, 703-777-0625
[email protected]

LCSO Warns Residents of Fake Kidnappers Scam
Loudoun County- This week residents in Loudoun County have reported a frightening scam. The residents reported receiving phone calls where the caller claims to have kidnapped their family member.

The callers will contact you via an international phone number or a non-standard ten digit phone number saying, “I’ve kidnapped your relative,” and naming a brother, sister, child or parent. “Send ransom immediately by wire transfer or prepaid card,” they say, “or something bad will happen.” In some cases the caller has had a young female scream for help in the background during the call to make the call more convincing. These callers hope that you’ll panic and rush to pay ransom before checking the story. There’s pressure to pay quickly, and the caller says not to contact anyone, including law enforcement. The scammers demand payment by wire transfer or prepaid cards. Why? Because it’s difficult to trace or recover money sent that way.

The Sheriff’s Office urges residents to stop and confirm the whereabouts of your family/friends that the scam is referring to. The Federal Bureau of Investigation calls this scam virtual kidnapping. Scammers scour the internet and social media sites, grabbing information about where people live, work, or travel, and names of friends and family. The cons use the details to pick a target and make their calls sound credible. To cut down on the information that scammers can find, think about limiting access to your networking pages — and encourage your family to do the same. Never post your Social Security number or account numbers online, and only share your phone number with your friends and contacts.

The Sheriff’s Office recommends to never wire money, conduct account transfers or pay by prepaid card to anyone that you do not know personally. If you do receive a call like this, attempt to verify the validity by contacting the relative in question. If you are ever concerned about the safety of yourself, or anyone else, don’t hesitate to call the Sheriff’s Office at 703-777-1021. More information on this scam can be found at http://go.usa.gov/xkYkb.
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