Experts warn of 'virtual kidnapping' scams

2 months 1 week 1 day ago Monday, November 28 2022 Nov 28, 2022 November 28, 2022 8:55 PM November 28, 2022 in News - Local

The holiday season is here, and many scammers are doing everything they can to pocket money.

Reynaldo's father got a threatening phone call demanding money. The person on the other end of the line claimed his son was kidnapped. 

"They wanted my father to send money in order to release his son," Reynaldo Frayre said.

Luckily, his son was safe and sound. The FBI calls fake phone calls like this 'virtual kidnapping' scams.

"There are 956 numbers that call to scam people, but I don't pay attention to it, but I just ignore it," McAllen resident Melissa De Leon said.

Elderly or small business owners could fall into a trap where someone could ask them for money or give out sensitive information through a phone call, link in text message or unsafe websites.

Scammers could even file taxes in your name and get their hands on your tax return.

"It's going to delay the process for their tax returns to get processes," IRS spokesperson Yviad Serbones Hernandez said.

Even with a criminal investigation within the IRS, it will take longer for you to get your money back.

"It adds more work to the taxpayers," Hernandez said. 

 With the holiday shopping season, experts are recommending you only shop on reputable websites with the padlock up in the top corner where you put the address.

Also, if anybody calls you asking for personal information, or money, hang-up the phone immediately and contact the company or entity directly.

To report suspicious activity involving tax returns, email phishing@irs.gov.

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