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Alert! Virtual Kidnapping Scam in New York

The FBI and NYPD are alerting the public to a frightening scam that has been on the rise in New York with the latest victim, Charles Ernst, resident of Long Island.
The victims are chosen at random. The scheme involves calling the victims family notifying of the kidnapping and demanding ransom money. While no actual kidnapping takes place, the story is frightening.
The individual calling pretends to be a friend or relative of the gang member and tells the victim that one of his family members has been in an accident and will be held hostage until a payment has been made for damages to his vehicle.
The perpetrators of this scam appear to be Hispanic males with a Spanish accent, requesting money to be wire transferred to Puerto Rico.
Anyone with information about the virtual kidnappings call the FBI at 212-384-1000 or the NYPD at 800-577-TIPS. Tipsters may remain anonymous.
To avoid becoming a victim of this scheme, be aware of the following indicators:

  • incoming calls from an outside area code (787), (939) and (856)
  • Calls do not come from the kidnapped victim's phone
  • Callers go to great lengths to keep you on the phone
  • Callers prevent you from calling or locating the "kidnapped" victim
  • Ransom money is only accepted via wire transfer service