Newport Beach Police sent out an alert on Saturday about “kidnapping scams,” warning residents, explaining how they work, and what to do if it happens.
Police explained that the scam starts with a call, the suspect claiming that a loved once has been kidnapped. The caller may make threats, demand money, or lead the victim to believe that the loved one is in danger.
“But… is the caller who you think it is? Scammers are good at pretending to be someone they’re not,” the message reads. “They can be convincing: Sometimes using information from social networking sites, or hacking into email accounts, to make it seem more real.”
Authorities recommend that the citizen end the conversation and try to contact the loved one directly or call other friends and family members to ask about the loved one.
Police also warned to never give out personal identifying information, such as bank account or credit card account numbers, to any unknown person.
They also encouraged residents to share this information, others may have not heard of this type of scam.
To report a scam and file a complaint, contact the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint