Authorities warn extortion scheme is on the rise

FAIRFIELD, Conn. (WTNH)–Scam kidnappings are becoming more frequent across the state, according to Fairfield police.

“This is occurring daily, and we recently we had a phone call someone fell victim to it,” said Chief Gary MacNamara. “The individual making the phone call already knows a lot of information about you. You can go on the internet they find out about where you live, they find out about some of your likes. If they go onto Facebook, or a variety of other social media platforms, you can find out a lot of information.”

Police said they use your personal information to validate the scam. “It appears legitimate because of the information they have, ” said MacNamara.

Related: Local, terrorizing phone calls under investigation

According to the FBI, virtual kidnappings trick victims into paying a ransom to free a loved one they believe is being threatened with violence or death. If you get a call, slow the process down so you can think clearly. Don’t give them any information and don’t transfer money.

“You hear screams in the background even if it remotely sounds like one of your loved ones, you are going to buy into the fact that it could truly be one of them,” MacNamara added.

Authorities said callers are always in a hurry and the ransom demand is usually a wire payment to Mexico.

“In order to complete the scam, someone has to go to a place that wires money to do that, so we are trying to make an outreach to those companies,” MacNamara said.

If you wire money out of the country it can be difficult to trace.

“Once that money is wired, your chances of getting that money back is nil. You are not going to get that money back,” MacNamara said.

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