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Virtual Kidnapping Scams

July/August 2015

By Bruce Dayno, Chief of Police

Recently, law enforcement agencies in northern Illinois have taken reports from residents who were victims, or intended victims, of virtual kidnapping scams. Virtual kidnappings consist of a range of telephone schemes aimed at extorting quick ransom payments from victims who are manipulated into believing their loved ones have been kidnapped.

Aggressive scammers contact their intended victims by telephone and convince them they are holding a loved one who will be harmed if money is not wired to them immediately. In some of the cases, the scammer claimed to be a Latin King gang member and spoke in broken English.

Some of the victims reported hearing their loved ones voice in the background. It was later learned that the loved one received a call from a scammer at the same time and that 3-way calling features were applied to fool the victim into thinking they were hearing their loved one with the scammer.

Many of the victims verified their loved ones were safe while on the phone with the scammer and did not send money. Others simply did not believe the caller and did not send money. Unfortunately some victims were tricked into staying on the phone while they sent money.

If you receive a call like this, or any call where the caller is demanding money be wired, hang up and contact the police.

For questions or more information, contact Police Chief Bruce Dayno at 847-945-1130

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