LAS VEGAS (AP) — Police say a telephone scam involving what have come to be known as “virtual kidnappings” has begun appearing in the Las Vegas area.

Investigators say it usually involves a call from an unknown or international phone number, a claim that a family member or child has been kidnapped, and a demand for money — usually by wire transfer.

Police say suspects sometimes obtain information about the victims from social media, and sometimes a child is heard crying in the background or yelling for a family member.

The caller typically tries to keep the victim on the phone until the ransom is paid, preventing confirmation that anyone was actually abducted.

Police advise would-be victims to slow the conversation, ask to speak directly with the alleged kidnap victim, and to try to contact or locate the family member.

They say it’s also important to notify police.


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