- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 4, 2016

LEESBURG, Va. (AP) - Authorities are warning the public about a scam in which criminals call parents’ cellphones and demand money, claiming to have kidnapped their son or daughter.

The Washington Post (http://wapo.st/2dpMVxJ ) reports the scam is known as virtual kidnapping and it’s having a renaissance across the country, particularly in the Washington region.

The callers target affluent areas and find enough information online to make their ruse plausible.

Wendy Mueller, of Leesburg, Virginia, says she fell for the stunt last week when a man convinced her to wire thousands of dollars to Mexico to keep her 23-year-old daughter from being killed. Fearful she was being monitored, Mueller didn’t get help and didn’t realize her daughter was safe the entire time.

There have been at least four other similar cases in the area recently.

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Information from: The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com

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