This fake kidnapping ploy started in Taiwan with Chinese gangs preying on Taiwanese students and the gangs involved have recently started up in Australia, targeting overseas students.
The parents of the ‘kidnaped’ student get a call saying their son or daughter has been kidnapped and the kidnappers seem to know about the student, thereby convincing the parents who then try to find the money to pay the ransom.
Their attempts to contact their son or daughter fail.
What has happened is that the gangs started by targeting overseas students (especially Chinese students) where the parents will have trouble travelling to the University.
They learned what they could about their targets initially then contacted the targets – claiming to be the authorities, telling them their life is in danger and they could be deported or imprisoned.
They learn more about the target so as to be able to convince the parents and they warn the target not to contact anyone or talk with anyone and to ignore phone calls, emails etc. as these could be false.
This is a nasty business as the parents will be terrified and pay a ransom and the target will be terrified to talk to anyone and in fear of prosecution.
The official advice is that anyone who receives such threatening calls they should contact the authorities immediately and certainly not just pay a ransom.
If you have any experiences with scammers, spammers or time-waster do let me know, by email.