‘Parent’s worst nightmare.’: Virtual kidnapping scam what it is, and how to protect yourself

Local News

A scam has hit Indiana, that is truly terrifying for parents. It involves phone spoofing, threats, and a demand for money.

The scam is called virtual kidnapping, and the Fort Wayne Police Department is urging you to be aware.

“I have your kid. Send me the money, or I’ll kill ‘em.”

Imagine that call coming from your own child’s phone number.

“It’s your worst nightmare, it’s any parent’s worst nightmare,” says Fort Wayne Police Department Public Information Officer Michael Joyner.

That is the basis of virtual kidnapping.

A scammer will spoof your child’s phone number, and ask for a money wire to make sure your child is unharmed.

“So, they’ve got enough information to almost sound as though this is legit, this is believable, because they know your daughter’s name, because they know your son’s name, they know your husband’s name, your wife’s name, enough to hook you, just to get you to listen,” Officer Joyner explains, “So now you’re hooked, and you’re fearful cause they’ve dropped the name you’re familiar with, a family member, everyone is going to be concerned about that, but this is a scam.”

Officer Joyner tells WANE 15 the scam hasn’t been reported in Fort Wayne, but has been reported in the Indianapolis area.

He says it’s extremely easy for scammers to get this information and spoof your loved one’s number. All it takes is downloading software.

Officer Joyner says it takes a little common sense to not become a victim of this scam.

Protect your information and you should be alright. At least makes it harder for that criminal element to get your information. Just don’t put in out there for public consumption. Again, just be aware of these types of scams. Think this through, common sense dictates this has gotta be a scam.”

If you do get a phone call like this Officer Joyner says to call 911, and they’ll have better resources to determine if the threat is credible. For all other scams, call the non-emergency line, at 427-1222.

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