FBI: Warning about virtual kidnapping scam now with international ‘twist’

FBI warns about kidnapping scam

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Federal agents are warning about a well-known scam in southern Arizona that now has an international twist.

Scammers call with claims of kidnapping a person’s loved one. A recent call was so convincing for someone in southern Arizona, that the individual crossed into Mexico in hopes of resolving the issue.

Nobody was hurt, but the person should not have left the United States, according to Steven Patterson, Assistant Special Agent in Charge F.B.I. Phoenix Division Tucson Resident Agency.

He said the best advice for anyone receiving these sorts of calls is to hang up before the scammers can convince the person to believe their lies.

"These individuals are very good at what they do," he said.

Information might be gathered through social media posts, but most scam attempts like this are made over the phone, according to Patterson. He said the power of persuasion is stronger when scammers can use voices or other sounds to instill fear in folks.

Exact numbers of how many calls are made or how many people fall for them, are hard to come by, according to Patterson. He said cases are certainly under reported, possibly because of the embarrassment that might be associated with falling for a scam.

Patterson said that should not keep anyone from sharing their situation with investigators. Any information shared can help prevent future scams.

"The more reports we have on this incident, the more likely we are to try to narrow it down, as to who these individuals are," said Patterson.

The FBI works with local law enforcement, as well as authorities in Mexico.

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