FBI warns New Mexico residents of virtual kidnapping phone scam

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The FBI is warning residents of New Mexico to be aware of a phone scam that preys on the emotions of family members.

Multiple cases involving virtual kidnapping have been reported within the state.

This scam involves the coercion of victims where they are told over the phone that a relative has been abducted or kidnapped and that a ransom must be paid.

These elaborate schemes often involve the use of social media to trick individuals into thinking their family members have actually been kidnapped.

In cases occurring in New Mexico, scammers tried to keep victims on the phone to prevent them from contacting the alleged abductee or law enforcement.

Scammers then demand a wire payment to Mexico.

Law enforcement encourages anyone receiving calls demanding a ransom to do the following: 

  • hang up the phone
  • attempt to make contact with the alleged victim
  • do not disclose any identifying information
  • slow the situation down (scammers success depends on speed and fear)
  • request to speak to the family member directly
  • carefully listen to the alleged victim if they speak (it is often someone posing as the victim)
  • do not agree to pay ransom

If you believe a real kidnapping is occurring, contact law enforcement immediately.

If you have received one of these calls, contact the FBI at (505) 889-1300.

Tips to the FBI can be made here.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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