Winnipeg police have issued a warning after an online scam recently popped up in the city.

WPS said the scam is known as virtual kidnapping.

According to the FBI website, virtual kidnapping is an extortion scheme which tricks the victim into paying ransom to free a loved one who they are made to believe is being threatened by violence or death.

Police said two of these cases have been reported in the city: the first on January 9 and the second on January 10.

Officers said in both cases the victims wired money to an out of country area code. The amounts were less than $5,000.

Investigators ask anyone that had been targeted by this kind of fraud to contact WPS at 204-986-6222.