WINNIPEG, MB - Winnipeg Police are warning people of a scam that continues to be reported in the city know as "virtual kidnapping.
Police say virtual kidnapping, has been around for a number of years, but not in Winnipeg until recently. According to an FBI website, virtual kidnapping is an extortion scheme which tricks the victim into paying a ransom to free a loved one who they are made to believe is being threatened with violence or death.
Virtual kidnapping threats are often made over the phone from an unfamiliar or private number and at times can involve a male or female purporting to be the "kidnapped" loved one during the call in an attempt to add credibility. In fact, no one has been kidnapped, but the victims are threatened and coerced to believe they have, and quickly pay a ransom.
Winnipeg Police have received at least 4 reports of these frauds. Two that occurred in January, victims wired funds to an out-of-country area code. During a scam on February 5, a victim intended to wire funds out-of-country but was stopped by an employee at the banking/postal business. In all of these cases, the amounts were less than $5,000.
Safeguards to prevent being a victim of this type of fraud can be found here, FBI Virtual Kidnapping.
If you have been targeted by this type of fraud please call the at (204) 986-6222.
Kevin Klein, Manitoba Post