Botetourt County authorities share red flags, tips for avoiding virtual kidnapping scams

Roanoke Valley News

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BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — The Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office is spreading the word about a virtual kidnapping scam that is concerning residents across the area.

The department says the scam is not new. They say that the scammers can be very convincing, leaving you panicked an emotionally shaken due to the scare tactics they use, often portraying themselves as members of a drug cartel and have been known to use female actors with crying or screaming going on in the background during the call.

Scammers also will make every attempt to keep you on the phone as long as possible by using pressure to secure a ransom.

They offer the following tips, should you receive one of these calls:

  • Incoming calls can potentially come from but not limited to area codes of (787), (939), and (856). Calls will be made from international numbers or outside area codes.
  • Stay calm and try to slow the situation down.
  • Ask to speak directly to your loved one. If they do not let you speak to your loved one directly, have them describe your loved one.
  • Avoid sharing any information about yourself or your loved one they can exploit to further the scam.
  • While staying on the line with the perpetrator, use another phone and try to contact your loved one.
  • Use social media or text to contact your loved one and verify their welfare.

If you receive one of these calls, you are asked to call your local law enforcement agency to report the crime.

For more information on virtual kidnapping scams, call Deputy David Moyer with the Botetourt County Sheriff’s Office Crime Prevention Unit at (540) 928-2260.

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