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Saturday, January 01, 2011

$24,000 lost in two kidnap phone scams [Singapore]

TWO separate phone scams over the past week involving 'kidnapped' children have resulted in a pair of families losing $24,000, The Straits Times (ST) reported on Saturday.

The conmen's modus operandi: duping families over the phone that their children have been kidnapped and demanding a ransom for their release. In both of the recent incidents, the children were actually unharmed throughout the fiasco.

In the first case cited by The Straits Times, a Chinese couple had received a call on Dec 27 saying their 23-year-old daughter had been kidnapped. A $30,000 ransom was demanded.

During the conversation, the father believed he heard his daughter crying in the background. He proceeded to make a transfer of $20,000 to a Chinese-based account, as instructed by the conman.

The outstanding $10,000 - which was to be delivered at Changi Airport - however never made it to the conman's hands as the mother received a call from her allegedly kidnapped daughter, saying she was at the library.

In the second incident reported by The Straits Times, a woman received a call from someone claiming to be her son, saying he had been kidnapped.

She proceeded to leave $4,000 at a designated location in the iHUB Building in Jurong Town Hall Road, as instructed. It was only after that did she try calling her son, whom she found to be safe at work.

The police have advised the public to be wary of such phone scams and its new variations. A recent variation which has surfaced includes a conman posing as a Supreme Court official arranging for bail payment.

When such kidnap calls are received, the public should stay calm and try to contact their loved ones who are said to be held captive, the police advised in the ST story. If there is no response, friends and colleagues should be contacted next.

The caller's claim can also be verified by families, who can ask specific questions regarding the captive's identity. In all cases, the police should be notified immediately.

source: $24,000 lost in two kidnap phone scams


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