Last updated: Sep 2018
Over the past several months, the RCMP has released three warnings about a cyber extortion scheme that tricks victims into believing their loved ones have been kidnapped.
While similar schemes are being reported worldwide, incidents in the Lower Mainland appear to be targeted at international students, specifically Chinese nationals, attending schools in the Greater Vancouver area. As members of the University community, please remain aware and educated about potential virtual kidnapping scams.
What is a virtual kidnapping scam?
These scams trick international students and their families into believing that their loved ones have been kidnapped or will be harmed. This scam can take different forms, and it is important to understand the ways in which suspects may use these types of phone calls to extort money from victims. The RCMP advisories detail below the types of phone calls that may be received.
How you can protect yourself:
- Communicate often with family and friends who live abroad, and educate them on the virtual kidnapping scam.
- Anyone who receives similar calls should not comply with any demands. Do not transfer money to the caller; do not give the caller any personal details.
- Hang-up immediately.
- Call your local police department or RCMP detachment.
RCMP News Releases:
Government of Canada News Release: