YORK COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) – Officials are warning the community after dealing with two recent incidents of abduction scams in York County.
Deputies were sent to the Tabb area in York County at around 4:30 p.m. on Monday for a possible abduction.
After further investigation, officials determined that it was another online scam targeting residents in the area involving fake abduction of the victim’s family members.
The call on Monday was the second one of this nature in the past two months in which the victims were led to believe that their loved one had been abducted along with a demand for ransom money.
“Not only is this scary to the victims, investigating false crimes such as these take considerable resources,” said Sheriff Diggs.
Authorities say they believe that the suspects may have learned the victims’ personal information through unsecured social media sites. They urged residents to properly secure any information online that might compromise their and their loved ones’ safety.
They then provided tips on how residents can prevent becoming victims of the abduction scam calls and to look for these possible these indicators:
- Callers go to great lengths to keep you on the phone, insisting you remain on the line.
- Calls do not come from the supposed victim’s phone.
- Callers try to prevent you from contacting the “kidnapped” victim.
- Calls include demands for ransom money to be paid via wire transfer to Mexico; ransom amount demands may drop quickly.
If you receive a phone call from someone demanding a ransom for an alleged kidnap victim, the following should be considered:
- In most cases, the best course of action is to hang up the phone.
- If you do engage the caller, don’t call out your loved one’s name.
- Try to slow the situation down. Request to speak to your family member directly. Ask, “How do I know my loved one is okay?”
- Ask questions only the alleged kidnap victim would know, such as the name of a pet. Avoid sharing information about yourself or your family.
- Listen carefully to the voice of the alleged victim if they speak.
- Attempt to contact the alleged victim via phone, text, or social media, and request that they call back from their cell phone.
- To buy time, repeat the caller’s request and tell them you are writing down the demand, or tell the caller you need time to get things moving.
- Don’t agree to pay a ransom, by wire or in person. Delivering money in person can be dangerous.
If you suspect a real kidnapping is taking place or you believe a ransom demand is a scheme, contact local law enforcement immediately.