Fairfax County, Virginia, families are being warned about a potential scam that preys on fear about the kidnapping of a loved one.
Fairfax County police said several parents with children in Fairfax County Public Schools have received calls saying their child has been kidnapped. Called virtual kidnapping, this scam has hit several areas in Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.
A virtual kidnapping is an extortion scheme, in which a criminal demands money from a victim by phone while pretending to hold captive a victim’s loved one. The callers threaten to harm or kill the victim’s loved one if a ransom isn’t immediately wired. Sometimes, screaming can be heard during the call to simulate the victim’s relative being harmed in some fashion.
Fairfax County police said the child in each case in the school system was safe at their respective school at the time the calls were made.
The scam has also hit the Archdiocese of Washington, Prince William County, Virginia, police and George Mason University. The FBI is involved in the ongoing investigation.
The News4 I-Team spoke with victims in Maryland in April about the virtual kidnapping scam and how the crime made its way into the area from New York and Texas.