The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department is alerting the public to a frightening new scheme that is targeting citizens throughout the United States, and most recently Las Vegas. These events are referred to as “Virtual Kidnappings,” according to a Metro news release.
In this scheme, individuals call unsuspecting victims claiming to have kidnapped a family member, usually a child, while no actual kidnapping has taken place. The caller tells the victim they have a family member, threatens to harm or even kill them, and makes a ransom demand to be paid typically via wire transfer.
The suspects often use children as decoys in the scheme, and have a child crying in the background and yelling for a family member. In several cases, the suspects have used social media to learn about their victims prior to initiating the phone call.