Disturbing scam spreading through Nebraska claims your child was kidnapped

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) — A terrifying scam claiming your child has been abducted is on the rise across Nebraska.

It’s gotten so bad that the Grand Island Police Department is sounding the alarm and sharing tips on how to protect yourself from becoming the next victim.

Police say scammers can sound incredibly convincing, and reports from all across the country suggest as much.  Some people have already lost a fortune.

The Better Business Bureau said scammers could potentially know the names of your family members and where you live because of social media.

“Thanks to social media sites, scammers can look up information and offer realistic stories in ways that they never could previously,” BBB spokesman Josh Planos said.

These virtual kidnapping scams usually begin with the caller saying a family member is being held captive, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Sometimes they’ll even have someone screaming in the background to make it more believable.

You’ll then be given specific instructions on how to get your loved one back safely, which typically involve wiring money.  The FBI said scammers will also push you to act quickly.

The BBB said that lately, it has been harder to identify scam phone numbers.

It’s very easy these days to spoof caller IDs to make it say whatever you want,” Planos said. “I received a phone call recently from myself.”

Grand Island Police urge you to stop and question any suspicious call before doing anything that could cost you thousands of dollars.

That includes asking the alleged kidnapper to allow your child to call you back from their own phone.  You can also try to call your child directly using another device.

If they don’t pick up, text them or someone they’re supposed to be with.  Sending a message through social media is another option if all else fails.

Authorities also urge you to notify your local police department as soon as possible.

Experts say you can lower the odds of being targeted in the first place by checking privacy settings on social media accounts.

Making more information public gives scammers more ways to convince you the danger is real.

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