How Virtual Kidnapping Takes your Money, Time, and Peace of Mind
It shatters everything. I can’t feel safe anymore.”
Imagine yourself on a typical Wednesday afternoon. Maybe you’re off on your lunch break or at home cooking when suddenly the phone rings. Rrrring rrring, rrring rrring… ‘unknown caller’, reads the caller ID, but you answer it anyway. It’s only a phone call, what is there to be afraid of? What do you have to lose? Paranoia and over $9,000, THAT’S WHAT! Wendy Mueller will tell you, as she was forced to face HER (and arguably every parent’s) biggest fear.
Mueller received three commands after hearing the voice of a woman who she was convinced was her daughter screaming and begging for help: to get her purse, phone, and charger, and rush to her car.
Mueller knew she had to do everything in her power to keep her daughter alive.
“How much cash can you get?” asked the criminal.
“$10,000,” she responded frantically.
What she didn’t know, however, is that she was being conned.
The travesty lasted for more than five hours and cost her thousands of dollars along with much distress. The torture came to an end only after she drove from ATM to ATM. She didn’t realize it was all a malicious lie until she got word from family (including her daughter) via text. As it turned out, her daughter was safe and in no danger whatsoever.
But by this time, she had wired $9,100 under complete mind control.
But how does one get played like that for so long?
- The scammer(s) did their research- familiarizing themselves with the area and with Mueller as well to make the scam credible. Not to mention, she’s from Loudon County aka Richville.
- Made persuasive claims that made her feel like he was watching her every move like describing her surroundings as she drove past them. Creepy, I know.
- Her daughter was miles away in college, so there was no quick way to know that she was actually safe.
This story is a nightmare come true and the text message Mueller’s daughter sent amidst all of this chaos makes things even crazier.
“Hey guys, look at what I was doing in class today.”
That’s when a photo of a school project popped up: “SNATCHED” and “DON’T BE NEXT” read the title of the movie poster she worked on in one of her college classes.
You know what they say: every cloud has a silver lining. Although Mueller lost a whole lot to an unknown caller including her sense of security, her daughter is safe.
Nevertheless, we ought to treat this as a reminder of the threat scammers present and of how vulnerable we are to them.
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