Washington Post story on 'virtual kidnapping' scam

Archived From: Finance
  • Page :
  • 1
  • Text Only
Voting History
rated:
Excerpt:

Scores of families have been targeted in California, especially in Beverly Hills, since last year. Then it happened in New York and Texas. And now there’s a rash of them in the Washington region.

“In the scheme, individuals call claiming to have kidnapped a family member,” the Prince William County Police warned in May. “While no actual kidnapping has taken place, the callers often use co-conspirators to convince their victims of the legitimacy of the threat.”

In some cases, scammers gather enough online information to Target their victims. By her Zip code, it’s easy to tell that Mueller lives in the nation’s wealthiest county, Loudoun.

+++

The kidnapper told Mueller to put her phone on speaker, get her purse and her phone charger, and get into the car. ...

The caller told Mueller he had hacked her phone and knew exactly where she was going. And then, for hours, he instructed her to go to small offices and stores across Northern Virginia, where she wired the maximum amount — usually $1,900 — to the name and addresses in Mexico that he had given her.

She went from Leesburg to Reston to Herndon to Arlington County to Seven Corners, crisscrossing Northern Virginia until nightfall, following his directions, turn by turn.

 Full article: http://wpo.st/Z3M22

Member Summary
Most Recent Posts
Oh, yeah, I don't think you ever finished that story.

Ecuadorgr (Oct. 04, 2016 @ 10:52p) |

filing false police report?

rufflesinc (Oct. 05, 2016 @ 5:46a) |

I can see rich folks for whom $10k means very little falling for this. Heck, that might actually provide some sense of a... (more)

Shandril (Oct. 05, 2016 @ 10:14a) |

Staff Summary
  • Also categorized in:
Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

Eh , lady didn't watch enough action/drama movies. You always demand to speak to the hostage. always. Then if you are rich/famous like Mel Gibson's character in Ransom you go on TV and offer the ransom to whoever turns in the kidnapper.

And I can't believe in this age of tech, the lady didn't just text her daughter or email from a laptop or tablet. Bunch of high strung gullible rich people, no different than victims of other high dollar scams.
How common are kidnappings for ransom of rich people or their family members in the United States?   

It's exceptionally rare. The kidnapping statistics in the United States can be very misleading. Almost all reported kidnappings are either the result of underaged girls running away with adult boyfriends, or custody battles gone bad. Only about a hundred cases per year of steretypical kidnapping for ransom occur across the whole country. Of those, most take place in poor neighboorhoods among poor families. Often, they involve criminals trying to collect a debt or something like that, so they grab a family member.  If a rich person is kidnapped, it's a big enough deal to be national news. 

And she is 59 ????
In what world is she living ??? 

.... oooops ....Northern Virginia, the political Disneyland. 


I see that happening to a 85+  year old person. 

Most people's brain MAY slow down enough at this age and, believing what they are told is a lot less effort than too much thinking on their own.
[Yes, after 3 weeks of living with my 96 year old mother in law, I have become an expert.   ]  

I have a hard time feeling bad for somebody that gets roped into this, if they're of sound body and mind.

kriskos4 said:   I have a hard time feeling bad for somebody that gets roped into this, if they're of sound body and mind.
  Hey a UCI Psychiatrist gave 1.3 million to a 'nigerian prince'.  And I don't think he was insane

http://articles.latimes.com/2006/mar/02/local/me-nigerian2
 

<< a UCI Psychiatrist ............... I don't think he was insane >>

from LATimes article  - 3 possibilities to explain his behavior:

"cyberspace scam artists are adept at exploiting a victim's weakness, whether it's
"diminished mental capacity
"greed
"or compassion"

Looks like there was no "diminished mental capacity"

Sure, why not, it could have been compassion.
But I vote for #2.

BTW:

this shrink differs a lot from the woman in the thread.

Greed had nothing to do with her behavior.

Only pure stupidity.
Or "diminished mental capacity".
 

I have heard of this scam before. Just check if you can contact the family member by any means at your disposal.

Yep, old scam, limited mental capacity, limited entertainment value.

How about sending a text to her daughter, during 5 hours she couldn't figure it out?

I was "kidnapped" like this about 10 years ago in a foreign country. I did a whole thread about it, but my stalkers had it moved to OT after auto-alerting the mods.

This happened to the band Delorean in Mexico, they actually had to cancel a show I had tickets to the following week:
http://www.stereogum.com/1513491/delorean-suffer-virtual-kidnapp... 

Crazytree said:   I was "kidnapped" like this about 10 years ago in a foreign country. I did a whole thread about it, but my stalkers had it moved to OT after auto-alerting the mods.
I was curious about this. Since you didn't post a link, I had to go digging. Here's the link in case anyone else is interested. https://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/950954 (I read the whole thing, but only the first 50 posts were worth reading).

Life must be incomplete without a copper sink. For shame on me to have a lowly stainless steel sink.

meade18 said:   
Crazytree said:   I was "kidnapped" like this about 10 years ago in a foreign country. I did a whole thread about it, but my stalkers had it moved to OT after auto-alerting the mods.
I was curious about this. Since you didn't post a link, I had to go digging. Here's the link in case anyone else is interested. https://www.fatwallet.com/forums/finance/950954 (I read the whole thing, but only the first 50 posts were worth reading).

  Thanks for the link.  Luckily, I have no friends or family that care a whit about me.

One time a loved one was apparently "stranded" in a some country and money was needed immediately. I had fun with these folks - got them to setup an account and get me wire instruction (they wanted me to do a western union but I of course did not have a western union near me but I was "willing" to send them money as long as I could wire it to them). They took the bait and did significant amount of leg work to get things in place. I then sent the info the FBI (because now theoretically there is traceable information) - not sure if anything happened (let me guess).

Crazytree said:   I was "kidnapped" like this about 10 years ago in a foreign country. I did a whole thread about it, but my stalkers had it moved to OT after auto-alerting the mods.
  SO.. I think the real question is did you pay back Uncle Spock or spend the money on H&B?

Crazytree said:   I was "kidnapped" like this about 10 years ago in a foreign country. 
Bring back fond memories !!!

20+ years ago, I was kidnapped for 15 mn, in what was known as the badlands of Philadelphia.

forbin4040 said:   
kriskos4 said:   I have a hard time feeling bad for somebody that gets roped into this, if they're of sound body and mind.
  Hey a UCI Psychiatrist gave 1.3 million to a 'nigerian prince'.  And I don't think he was insane

http://articles.latimes.com/2006/mar/02/local/me-nigerian2 

  His son can use the Gottschalk-Gleser scales, an internationally used diagnostic tool for charting impairments in brain function.

"...Louis Gottschalk, a neuroscientist, is the founding chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at UCI College of Medicine. He gained national prominence by announcing in 1987 that President Reagan had been suffering from diminished mental ability as early as 1980.He came to this conclusion by using the Gottschalk-Gleser scales, an internationally used diagnostic tool he helped develop for charting impairments in brain function, to measure speech patterns in Reagan's 1980 and 1984 presidential debates.In 1997, Gottschalk gave $1.5 million to the UCI College of Medicine. In exchange, school officials named the medical plaza after him and his late wife..."

I think I'm of the suspicious type.

If it looks too dumb - there could be something else.
What about if she made it all up ? 
Did she need attention from the Media ?

or [my favorite]: 

"victim" wants to give 10k to her lover without her daughter and ex-husband knowing about it.

Passing for an idiot was a small price to pay for what she got in return.

Crazytree said:   I was "kidnapped" like this about 10 years ago in a foreign country. I did a whole thread about it, but my stalkers had it moved to OT after auto-alerting the mods.
  Oh, yeah, I don't think you ever finished that story.

mikebeets said:   I think I'm of the suspicious type.

If it looks too dumb - there could be something else.
What about if she made it all up ? 
Did she need attention from the Media ?

or [my favorite]: 

"victim" wants to give 10k to her lover without her daughter and ex-husband knowing about it.

Passing for an idiot was a small price to pay for what she got in return.
filing false police report?

I can see rich folks for whom $10k means very little falling for this. Heck, that might actually provide some sense of adventure in their otherwise boringly comfortable life. Ok maybe not.

Still you have to seriously have your brain offline to fall for this. While you retrieve your car charger, get dressed, grab your wallet, etc... why not text daughter or a relative so they can get in contact with her? Beside asking to talk to her daughter, why not test if they really know where you are by taking a long detour, taking a wrong turn deliberately, or turning off GPS location on your phone? Ask them to verify that it's really her that they have by sending a text from the daughter's phone. Ask them to describe a body feature that is very specific (or even doesn't exist). Chances to verify that this is a scam are endless. Why not try any of them once during those 5 hours? Outside of the elderly or the mentally-ill, how much of a gullible sheep do you have to be to fall for scam like that?



Disclaimer: By providing links to other sites, FatWallet.com does not guarantee, approve or endorse the information or products available at these sites, nor does a link indicate any association with or endorsement by the linked site to FatWallet.com.

Thanks for visiting FatWallet.com. Join for free to remove this ad.

While FatWallet makes every effort to post correct information, offers are subject to change without notice.
Some exclusions may apply based upon merchant policies.
© 1999-2017