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Vancouver police renew warning about elaborate virtual kidnapping scam

Last Updated Oct 24, 2019 at 11:30 pm PDT

(iStock Photo)
Summary

The scam typically targets women from China in their early 20s who are in Canada on student visas

The scam starts when the intended victim is contacted by someone posing as a Chinese law enforcement agent

The fraudster then convinces the victim to make a video saying they've been kidnapped and demand ransom from family

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — After thwarting an extortion attempt by a “foreign fraudster,” police are renewing a 2018 warning about virtual kidnappings.

A 27-year-old Vancouver man was a target of one of these scams Wednesday, but the VPD say the scam typically targets women from China in their early 20s who are in Canada on student visas.

According to police, it starts when the intended victim is contacted by someone posing as a Chinese law enforcement agent.

“The victim typically receives a phone call and is convinced there is a warrant for their arrest in China, or that Chinese police need help with an investigation,” says Sgt. Aaron Roed, VPD. “The suspects then tell the victim to go into hiding and to make fake videos claiming they’ve been kidnapped. The scammers send the videos to the victim’s family and friends asking for money to pay for their release.”

Police are reminding people that any contact with foreign police is facilitated by local cops. Further, law enforcement should not and will not ask anyone to pretend to be the victim of a crime.

Police first warned the public about this scam in 2018.

RELATED: VPD warns of fake kidnapping extortion scheme

The VPD believes these scams aren’t usually reported and are encouraging anyone who has been targeted in the past to contact them by calling 604-717-3679 or Crime Stoppers 1-800-222-8477.

They say anyone who received one of these calls should call 911.