Chinese Teen in the U.S. Falls Victim to ‘Cyber Kidnapping’ Scam
A Chinese teenager studying in the United States fell victim to a new type of fraud known as “cyber kidnapping.”
Suspected to be of Chinese origin, the fraud group resorted to threats against the victim, akin to a kidnapping scenario. They warned him that harm would befall his family if he failed to comply with their demands. In a deceptive ploy, they demanded money from the victim’s family, asserting that they had abducted their child.
AFP and other outlets reported on 2nd (local time) the recent case of “cyber kidnapping” involving Kai Zhang (17), a Chinese student studying at a high school in Riverdale, Utah.
According to the report, Zhang’s parents, who live in China, recently received a threatening call from an unknown person demanding a ransom for their son and eventually deposited $80,000 into a Chinese bank account.
Despite paying the ransom, the parents, who had not heard from the scammers, reported their son missing to the local police on the 28th of last month.
Analyzing Zhang’s bank records and call history, the police found him at a temporary campsite about 40 kilometers (25 miles) from the city center after three days.
When found, Zhang was extremely cold and terrified. The tent contained limited food and water, thermal blankets, a sleeping bag, and several cell phones suspected to have been used in the cyber kidnapping.
Investigations revealed that Zhang had followed the scammers’ instructions after receiving threats that they would harm his family if he did not comply.
Zhang climbed the mountain as directed by the scammers, cut off contact with acquaintances, and lived in the tent. During this process, he reported his status to the scammers via video call using another cell phone.
Also, Zhang took photos pretending to be a hostage and sent them to the scammers. The scammers used the images sent by Zhang to demand a ransom from his parents.
The police have warned that cyber kidnappings targeting international students in the United States are on the rise.
By. Jeong Hun Bang