Kidnapping, ransom scam goes around Kingsport | criminality


KINGSPORT – If you’ve recently received a phone call about a kidnapped friend or family member with a demanded ransom, ignore it.

This is just the latest scam attempted by would-be criminals, the Kingsport Police Department said in a recent press release.

The KPD issued the scam alert on Friday, saying the kidnapping and ransom hoax was circling the greater Kingsport area. While scams of this nature are not new, in a recent 48-hour period no less than three similar scams have been reported to law enforcement in the region, reports the KPD.

The elements of the hoax are as follows:

A potential victim will receive a phone call from a scammer claiming that he has kidnapped one of his family, friends or relatives. The scammer has done some research and will usually name a specific person known to the victim.

There will often be screams in the background allegedly from the victim, reports the KPD.

The crook will then threaten to harm the hostage and demand that a ransom be paid in exchange for his release. The victim will be asked to go to a specific location to arrange payment, usually in the form of a wire transfer.

Kingsport Police Department is warning residents that if they receive such a call, it is almost certainly a scam. Due to the technology of changing phone numbers, it is highly doubtful that the people performing these scams are local, and it is quite possible that they are not even operating from within the United States.

If you receive any of these calls, don’t pay any money, and be sure to contact law enforcement to report the incident immediately.

For more information and advice on this type of scam, visit www.fbi.gov/news/stories/virtual-kidnapping.