Scam is tricking parents across the country into thinking their - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Scam is tricking parents across the country into thinking their family member is kidnapped

Scam is tricking parents across the country into thinking their family member is kidnapped

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NBC RIGHT NOW - Reports of "virtual kidnapping" are popping up around the country, and the number of scams keeps growing. It has even been reported here in Washington State.

According to the FBI, the callers often use social media to learn about their victims, like finding their names and places they've lived so they can convince victims they've really kidnapped their child.

Wendy Mueller, a mom in North Carolina, says she got a call from Mexico from what sounded like her daughter who was away at school.

Mueller says the person on the other end of the phone said, "We have your daughter, we snatched her off the street. If you do everything we say, you'll see here again."

The caller warned her not to hang up or call the police and told her to withdraw $10,000.

Wendy later learned her daughter is safe, but the money she wired is gone.

A man in Grays Harbor recently reported getting a similar call. 

A couple things you can do to protect yourself are limiting the personal information you post online. Also, if a virtual kidnapper calls demand proof your loved one is being held by asking something only they would know.

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