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FBI Warns of New Type of Cyber-Enabled Fraud – Missing Persons Scams | Opinion

There is a new type of cyber-enabled fraud that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is warning the public about – missing persons scams using social media. Scammers use information posted about missing persons on social media websites to target and exploit the victim’s family and friends network.

So, how does a Missing Persons Scam Work?

It is common for scammers to only request small amounts of money as missing persons scams tend to be a quick cash-grab. In addition to small requests, scammers tend to express some level of urgency in the payment by claiming the victim is either injured or sick.

In August 2020, a scammer targeted a mother who reported her 13-year-old daughter as missing on social media. The mother posted information on social media seeking assistance; however, that information was eventually used against her. Included in the online post was the mother’s personal phone number. According to the FBI’s Internet Crimes Complaint Center, scammers took advantage of this by calling the mother, claiming they had her daughter and required some ransom for her safe return. In the past, scammers have used this pressure tactic to demand ransom sums ranging from $5,000 to $10,000. Thankfully, the 13-year-old daughter had never actually been abducted and safely returned home before the scammers could capitalize on the family’s…

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