Tuesday, February 23, 2016
I believe you called this "express kidnapping" in your book, where
somebody calls the mark and claims to have a relative of the mark who
they kidnapped, and to send money. Keep in mind that this isn't New
York or Los Angeles, but sparsely populated south Oregon-Medford is
the main city, but it only has around 80,000 people. It looks like
you're right yet again. I believe it was Mark Twain who said, history
may not repeat itself but it rhymes.
That’s very interesting, thanks for the link.
Indeed, it happens a lot in Argentina. This is what we call “virtual kidnapping”. Basically “virtual kidnapping” is any kind of scam in which the victim is made to believe that a loved one has been kidnapped but no one has been actually taken. It can be anything from random calls to scams made with knowledge of the supposed kidnap victim being away, maybe on business, or otherwise. In one case I remember from Argentina, the “virtual kidnap” was perpetrated because the virtual kidnapper knew the victim would be away for several hours with his mistress, cell phone off to avoid being located. That gave the virtual kidnapper a good window of time to work with and collect the ransom money from this person’s family.
These kind of scams are precisely why it’s so important in a place like Argentina (and I guess now USA) to have your cell phone with you at all times so as to quickly contact family members.
“Express kidnap” is different. It involves someone actually being kidnaped. It’s called “express” because it’s usually a very fast action, not involving the intel often found in more elaborate, typical kidnaps. “Express kidnaps” often involve criminals simply driving around looking for targets that seem wealthy. This may be people wearing expensive clothes, location (wealthy neighbourhoods) fancy cars or private school uniforms. At one time several private schools encouraged students to stop wearing the school uniform because pupils were being kidnapped because of them. The amount of ransom money asked is usually far less than a classic kidnap. The idea is to get paid little money but get paid fast, minimising the chance of getting the police involved.
Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre is the author of “The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse” and “Bugging Out and Relocating: When Staying is not an Option”.