There are, unfortunately, many ‘bad’ people out there trying to trick others in handing over their money.
One of the more novel ways is the ‘virtual kidnapping scam’ which seems to have now hit North Carolina.
It plays on the strong feelings a family has for a child and usually is done completely over the phone. One family from Raleigh explains what happened to them.
Mr Mark Parker says he answered a telephone call late in the evening. On the other end was a man who told him that his son, who was indeed driving back to college in Charlotte, had just been in a wreck. It was claimed that his son had hit a group of people in a small truck who had decided to kidnap him, and they now wanted money for his release.
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The father of the family explained: "He told me to go to Walmart and send over $5,100. I told him I didn't think I had that kind of money in my account, but I would look."
According to the local FBI branch, the Parker family was sucked into what is known as a ‘virtual scam’, something which originated in Mexico but is now spreading to the US.
Mr Parker’s wife Rebecca commented: "For someone to say they're holding a gun to your child's head and they've been in a car accident is beyond cruel. There are no words for that."
As Mr Parker went to the local Walmart on Glenwood Avenue, his daughter at the same time called her brother to make sure he was safe. Daughter Gabby Parker:
"I called my brother. He was okay. I think at this point, my dad was still on the phone with the guy, who was trying to get money from him. It was just an overall scary experience."
During the whole ordeal, Mr Parker did transfer some $500 to an undisclosed location in Puerto Rico just before his wife told him their son was safe.
"$500 is a lot of money, but at the same time, it's not a lot of money for the well-being of my son," Mr Mark Parker said. "The whole time I was on the phone with him, he told me not to call anyone, not to hang up, just to stay on the phone with him, that he would be the one to help him out."