A New Threat That Preys on Parents' Fears

 A New Threat That Preys on Parents' Fears

A new type of scam preys on parents’ protective nature toward their children in order to coax them into wiring high ransoms. To do this, scammers make a phone call claiming they’ve taken a victim’s child, and they threaten to harm the child unless parents pay ransoms ranging from $5,000 to $6,000. In each reported case so far, there was actually no abduction. The child was discovered to be safe, often just at school or out with friends, but usually only after the parent had already paid the ransom.

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The Not So Obvious Fraud Threats: Friends and Family


Mandy Moody, CFE
ACFE Content Manager

As they say, "the truth is often stranger than fiction." This Halloween, that quote rings ever so true when reading some of latest fraud news stories to pop up on my social media feeds. While many of the tales I recently read tell of hackers sneaking in to bank accounts from overseas and outsiders stealing personal information and data, we can't forget to be just as wary of the people we DO know. 

Here is just a sampling of the top news articles that left me in stitches, scared and a little creeped out this Halloween:

In stitches: A man in eastern China is suspected of fraud after he allegedly signed an IOU for a loan for 110,000 yuan ($126,135) using ink that quickly faded. The man, surnamed Ru, had borrowed more than 120,000 yuan since 2013 from his friend, surnamed Ruan, and repaid 10,000 yuan in May 2015 and requested a new receipt, which he allegedly signed using the disappearing ink. Read more.

Scared: Nearly everyone who loses money in a scam says they missed red flags that could have saved them from being taken for a ride. But those signs are sometimes hard for people to see, especially when they're dealing with someone they believe in and who promises to make them money. "They are silver-tongued devils," says Utah U.S. Attorney John Huber. "Utah fraudsters are pretty good at what they do." Read more. 

Creeped out: An Arizona woman claims a fortune teller hypnotized her and talked her into leaving $1,400. The psychic denied the allegations when confronted by CBS 5 Investigates. But the situation is an example of how difficult it can be for law enforcement officials to investigate accusations of fortune teller fraud. Read more.

For more fraud news, follow the ACFE on Twitter.