Podcast: ‘If you don’t send us money, I’m going to kill your mom’

Jeremy Vincent was startled out of his sleep in the middle of the night with the ring of his smartphone. Its screen read, “Mom’s Cell.”  But when he answered, he didn’t hear his mom’s voice. Instead, he heard this:

“I’m going to let you talk to your mom, your mom’s okay, I’m going to let you talk to her. She’s tied up here, and I just want you to know, if you don’t send us money, I’m going to kill your mom.”

I’m going….to kill….your mom.  Still groggy, Jeremy spent the next few moments just trying to get his bearings.  The man on the other end of the line….no, there were two of them…and he…they….were highly agitated. Maybe even high. And unpredictable.

A prison psychologist, Jeremy has had endless conversations with angry, emotional men through the years.  His training kicked in, and he started asking questions, trying to draw the men out, but mainly trying to buy time. Yes, they want money. No, they weren’t sure how they wanted to receive it.  OK, Venmo.  No, he can’t talk to his mom. Yes, if I call the cops, they say they’ll kill her.

Wait a minute, Jeremy thinks, suddenly. Where are the dogs? Why aren’t his mom’s three dogs barking like mad? So he did something he instantly regretted. He hung up, and called the cops.


Listen to this episode by hitting the play button below or visiting this link.


 

————————————SPOILER ALERT—————————-

This episode of The Perfect Scam is about a growing crime trend called Virtual Kidnapping. Criminals with access to some personal information and caller ID spoofing technology call victims making terrifying threats, hoping to catch them at a bad moment. They then demand ransom — sometimes thousands of dollars — to free a loved one who’s been kidnapped.

Jeremy was right to hang up. His mom was never in any real danger. When cops arrived at her house, some 1,000 miles away, the dogs did bark. But nothing was wrong. Still, she was spooked, and he almost had a heart attack.

Sure, in this text piece I tell you about virtual kidnapping, but I’d rather show and your loved ones how it works.  Please listen to this episode of The Perfect Scam, or pass it on to your family and friends. It just might help them avoid becoming a victim of this terrible crime.

If you’d prefer, you can read a transcript of this episode here.

Here’s a recent FBI warning about virtual kidnapping.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Bob Sullivan 1536 Articles
BOB SULLIVAN is a veteran journalist and the author of four books, including the 2008 New York Times Best-Seller, Gotcha Capitalism, and the 2010 New York Times Best Seller, Stop Getting Ripped Off! His latest, The Plateau Effect, was published in 2013, and as a paperback, called Getting Unstuck in 2014. He has won the Society of Professional Journalists prestigious Public Service award, a Peabody award, and The Consumer Federation of America Betty Furness award, and been given Consumer Action’s Consumer Excellence Award.

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