'Virtual kidnapping' scam hits Winnipeg: police
Published Tuesday, February 6, 2018 9:57AM CST
Last Updated Tuesday, February 6, 2018 12:45PM CST
Winnipeg police said they’ve received reports of a virtual kidnapping scam in the city.
Police said the scam has been around for several years, but has not surfaced in Winnipeg until recently.
According to an FBI website, virtual kidnapping is “an extortion scheme which tricks the victim into paying a ransom to free a loved one who they are made to believe is being threatened by violence or death.”
The threats are usually made over the phone from an unknown number and sometimes involve a man or a woman pretending to be the kidnapped loved one. Police said that in reality, no one has been kidnapped, but the victims are often fooled and pay a ransom.
The WPS said they have received at least four reports of these frauds. During two of the incidents in early January, victims wired funds to an out-of-country area code. Then on Feb. 5, a victim tried to wire funds out of the country but was stopped by an employee at a banking/postal business. In all incidents, the amount was less than $5,000, police said.
If you have been a target of this scam, you can call Winnipeg police at 204-986-6222.