Denver, CO (PRWEB) April 15, 2016
The Aurora Police Department has released a warning of kidnapping extortion scams targeting Mexican nationals who currently live in Aurora.
“This is similar to many other scams BBB sees throughout the year but especially cruel because of the targeted victims and the seriousness of the threat,” says BBB CEO Kim States. “There are so many variations. Callers will demand payment and use threats of arrest, court action or physical harm to trick you into sending them money.”
The Aurora Police Department reports caller with an unidentified Mexican phone number warns a family member that a son, daughter, or other loved one has been kidnapped and will likely be killed unless a ransom is paid. The caller almost always talks fast and deliberately keeps the family member on the phone for as long as possible so as to prevent him/her from calling the alleged victim. The family member is then instructed to wire money to a destination somewhere in Mexico and the perpetrator may call back several times with escalating threats and more demands for money.
After following the caller’s threats as instructed, the family member eventually discovers that the victim purportedly being held ransom is safe and unaware that he/she has been used as ‘bait’ in the hoax. Pay-up scams such as these are not uncommon and are used to scare innocent victims into sending money to con artists.
Per the Aurora Police Department and FBI, blackmailers often use social networking sites to identify families and the relationships of family members to gather personal, pertinent information (birthdays, hobbies, full names, etc.) to enhance the threat’s credibility.
The Aurora Police Department offers these tips to protect yourself and family:
Place all family members on speed dial so that if such a call comes through, a call or text message to the targeted victim can be immediately sent. Consider establishing a code within the family, such as a text, emoticon, word or phrase that would notify family members of the extortion attempt, or in turn, that the alleged victim is safe.
The FBI recommends finding ways of stalling the caller in order to speed dial the intended victim by slowing the conversation down and asking questions. One strategy is to ask the caller to repeat the demand so you can write the information down. Ask to speak to the victim.
Finally, consider limiting the personal information you post about family members on social networking sites, and instruct families to do so as well.
If you receive this call, contact Sgt. Courtenay, Aurora Police Department at 303-739-6094. You can also report this and other scams – as well as monitor scams in your area - at BBB’s Scam Tracker. For more information please visit http://www.da18.org/ConsumerProtection/Alerts.aspx
For Better Business Bureau serving Denver/Boulder media inquiries:
Chief Revenue Officer
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