A new scam that I have just heard of, thanks to a reader called Brian, is the ‘kidnap scam’.
Apparently this one has just started being used in America –
A scammer will call someone at their home, telling them that a family member has been kidnapped.
They then demand that an amount of money is transferred to a Malaysian bank account in order to secure that person’s release.
Whilst on the phone, the scammer will insist that the person receiving the telephone call doesn’t hang up.
This, presumably, is to prevent them from calling the police and finding out that this is no more than a scam.
Also of course, whilst on the telephone, the person behind the scam could keep on issuing threats, making their victim more and more anxious and not giving them time to think straight.
It would seem that the scammer does their homework and chooses to say that they have kidnapped a family member that probably wouldn’t be at home and is likely to be hard to contact.
This ensures that it is as difficult as possible to discover that the whole call is a ruse, designed to extract money.
Hopefully this will never happen to you but if you do receive such a call then remember, as likely as it is to be a scam, such kidnappings do happen from time to time.
Try to contact the supposedly kidnapped relation as soon as possible and, if such an attempt is unsuccessful then it is better to waste the police force’s time with your worries than to assume that nothing is wrong.