Posted: Friday, September 11, 2015 – 10:41 AM
A nationwide virtual kidnapping scam could be targeting Beverly Hills residents, according to the Beverly Hills Police Department.
According to the BHPD, scammers nationwide are calling people and claiming to have kidnapped one of their family members. Sometimes the scammer will work in tandem with another person, who will come on the phone asking for help and pretending to be the kidnapped victim.
Eventually, the alleged kidnapper will request ransom money via wire transfer (such as Western Union) or cash, while going to great lengths to keep the call-taker on the phone. In some cases where the call-taker has agreed to pay the ransom amount, the scammer will send a private driver (ex: Uber or Taxi) to their home to transport the call-taker to a bank to get money.
The BHPD warns residents to be on high alert for several indicators that the call is a scam:
- The incoming call is from an unknown long-distance phone number.
- The caller does not know the name of the person they kidnapped (i.e. stating “I kidnapped your daughter).
- The caller will not let you speak with the alleged kidnap victim.
- The caller demands that you stay on the phone and will not allow you to make other phone calls.
- The caller will not allow you to call him/her back.
- The caller demands ransom money by way of wire transfer or cash.
The BHPD asks that if residents receive an alleged kidnapping call, to consider the following:
- Ask to speak to the alleged kidnap victim. If you speak to someone purporting to be the kidnap victim, listen carefully to determine whether it is in fact your family member.
- Ask the caller to give you the name and description of the alleged kidnap victim.
- While remaining on the phone with the caller, call or text the alleged kidnap victim.
- Report the incident to the BHPD at 310-550-4951.