Police & Fire

Yorktown Family Targeted in ‘Virtual Kidnapping’ Scam

feb7d98239aa3910766b_4e826d239bb0efda295b_high.jpg
Credits: fbi.gov
feb7d98239aa3910766b_4e826d239bb0efda295b_high.jpg

YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Imagine receiving a phone call from a familiar area code on a late weekday morning. You don’t recognize the number, but decide to answer anyway. When you do, you hear the screams of young woman in the background, followed by a man saying, “We have your daughter.”

This man might even have specific details, including your daughter’s name and the school she attends. He says harm will come to your daughter unless you wire him money.

A similar situation recently happened to a Yorktown woman, who was targeted in what the FBI calls a “virtual kidnapping” scam.

Sign Up for E-News

The woman, who requested anonymity, said she and her brother were targeted simultaneously.

The perpetrators told the Yorktown woman that her brother had been kidnapped and was being held in a basement, and was gagged and bound. At the same time, they told the brother that her daughter had been kidnapped, was being held at gunpoint, and they would shoot her if he didn’t send money. The perpetrators used the names of both alleged kidnap victims.

“Having street smarts, we both suspected a scam,” the woman said.

However, the perpetrators managed to put her brother on the phone to “prove” they had him. The woman suspects this may have been done by using the speaker phone function.

“And I was able to ask him questions for which he only knew the answers,” she said. “That’s what made it real.”

Still suspecting a scam, the woman then used her office phone to call her brother’s wife, who confirmed his safety. Though he was safe, her brother said the perpetrators told him a different story—they had kidnapped her daughter.

The Yorktown woman described a feeling of terror as she both unsuccessfully tried to call her daughter and was told by a college employee, who is also a family friend, that she was absent from a class she was scheduled to attend.

“That was the horror,” the woman said. “She could not be found quickly enough until her father set aside a legal matter and instead drove down to her thankfully nearby dorm and demanded access.”

The Yorktown woman has since spoken to friends about what took place, only to hear that others they knew were targeted by a similar scam.

“This is an act of terrorism and people should not stay quiet about it,” she said. “So, if you see, hear or experience something, say something.”

She said the scam phone calls came from a Yonkers number.

A nationwide campaign was launched Monday, Oct. 16, by the FBI to help raise awareness of virtual kidnapping. According to the FBI, virtual kidnapping takes on many forms, “but it is always an extortion scheme—one that tricks victims into paying a ransom to free a loved one they believe is being threatened with violence or death.” Sometimes they target specific individuals, other times they cold-call hundreds of numbers in affluent areas.

“The scammers attempt to keep victims on the phone so they can’t verify their loved ones’ whereabouts or contact law enforcement,” states the FBI. “The callers are always in a hurry, and the ransom demand is usually a wire payment to Mexico of $2,000 or less, because there are legal restrictions for wiring larger amounts across the border.”

If someone is demanding a ransom for an alleged kidnap victim, the FBI says that hanging up the phone is usually the best course of action. If you choose to engage the caller, avoid sharing specific information about the loved one; request to speak to the alleged victim; ask questions only the alleged victim would know, such as the name of a pet; attempt to contact the alleged victim via phone, text or social media; and never agree to pay a ransom.

If you suspect a real kidnapping is taking place or you believe you are the victim of a scheme, contact the nearest FBI office or local law enforcement immediately.

Please request a FREE subscription to Yorktown News by clicking on the following link: http://www.halstonmedia.com/requestors/yn_requestor.pdf

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Yorktown

God Is Just! Schneiderman Is Out!

Whenever you doubt that God is just, remember last Monday. That is the day New York state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman resigned.

As you know, I have had him in my sights for a long time. He has squandered our tax dollars with more than 100 lawsuits against the Trump administration. Plus, his lawsuits against Big Oil and trying to nullify our double jeopardy laws. Most will go nowhere as ...

A Scientific Look at Decision-Making

Seven years ago, when I first began sharing my thoughts with you, I posed the question: What are the neurological mechanics of decision-making? I was referring not only to decisions about our actions, but also to the method by which we form our beliefs and preferences, political and otherwise. What inspired that inquiry, at that time, was my observation that our nation was increasingly polarized ...

Bias in Media, in Me, in You

While listening to an interview with a voter on my car radio, I thought I had excess ear wax that obstructed my hearing. The voter (whose name is Bruce) said this about one of the qualifications that a Senate or House candidate must have to earn his vote: “I don’t want anyone with ideas. We have enough of those already.”

I’m a journalist and have been one my entire ...

Cross My Legs and Hope to Die

One morning, I had a big cup of coffee as I usually do, and then I got in the car and drove 40 minutes to a clothing store I had been curious to check out. I don’t normally drive 40 minutes to go shopping, but since I am a stay-at-home mom and everyone knows we stay-at-home moms just spend our time shopping and eating bonbons, I figured, “What the hey.”

Having had the ...

Don’t Mix Politics with Business

May 17, 2018

When every year is an election year, it’s hard to avoid “talking” politics—but business leaders need to try.

The problem is that talking politics changes relationships. You quickly go from business owner or salesperson to Democrat, Republican, etc.

Putting a political sign in front of your business is a clear sign (literally) of your views. Not only do you tell your ...

Upcoming Events

Wed, May 23, 8:00 AM

Mercy College, Yorktown Heights

Business Enterprise and Employment Opportunity ...

Business & Finance

Fri, May 25, 10:30 AM

Yorktown Community Cultural Center, YORKTOWN HEIGHTS

Tai Chi for Women with Cancer

Health & Wellness

Sat, May 26, 12:00 PM

Club Fit, Jefferson Valley

Yoga for Women with Cancer

Health & Wellness

Yorktown Youth Soccer Club Roundup

May 18, 2018

YORKTOWN, N.Y. – Yorktown’s Girls U9 Team, the Hurricanes, defeated the Poughkeepsie Fireflies with a 1-0 win at Hunterbrook Field in Yorktown.

Hurricane’s goalies Cameron Parise and Avery Pugliese shut out the Poughkeepsie offense with several key saves. Yorktown controlled the ball throughout the game with outstanding performances by midfielders Samantha Nastasi, Macey ...