Scammers tried to trick a North Vancouver man into paying a hefty ransom after pretending to kidnap his wife this week.
The man told police he received a phone call from what appeared to be his wife’s number on Tuesday (Nov. 22), but that the person on the other end of the line was a stranger. The stranger told the man they had his wife as a hostage and they’d harm her if the man didn’t pay a ransom through e-transfer.
The man said he could hear a woman’s voice in the background of the call, causing him further panic.
He reached out to police, who were able to determine the call had been a hoax after they found the man’s wife safe.
North Vancouver RCMP say this type of scam is known as “virtual kidnapping.”
“To make this believable, the fraudsters may order you to not answer your phone or make contact with family, friends or the police,” the department said in a news release.
Media relations officer Const. Mansoor Sahak said whenever they get a call about a potential kidnapping, they always treat it as real until they can prove it otherwise. He added that virtual kidnappings can be a serious strain on police resources.
Anyone who receives a kidnapping call is advised to not comply with the caller’s demands, and to hang up and report it to police. People should also never give out personal information over the phone, Sahak said.