Wednesday, February 8, 2023

York sheriff warns residents about scam abduction calls

The York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office is warning residents to be aware of scam calls alerting people their loved ones had been abducted.

On Monday, deputies were sent to the Tabb area of York County in response to a possible abduction, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

Authorities said that was a fake report, the second time in the past two months.

In both cases, residents were led to believe a loved one had been abducted and that they had to pay a ransom.

Simply put: This is a scam to extort money from unsuspecting victims.

“Scam calls like these raise many concerns,” said Sheriff J.D. “Danny” Diggs. “Not only is this scary to the victims, investigating false crimes such as these take considerable resources. Good people often lose their hard earned money.”

Diggs said investigators believe the suspects in these cases may have learned information about the victims through their social media accounts.

As a result, YPSO is encouraging residents to review the settings to make sure they are protected.

According to the FBI, the success of a virtual kidnapping scheme relies on speed and fear because the criminals know there is only a short time period before the scam is revealed.

To avoid becoming a victim, the FBI suggests looking for these possible indicators:

  • Callers go to great lengths to keep you on the phone, insisting you remain on the line.
  • Calls do not come from the supposed victim’s phone.
  • Callers try to prevent you from contacting the “kidnapped” victim.
  • Calls include demands for ransom money to be paid via wire transfer to Mexico; ransom amount demands may drop quickly.

If you receive a phone call from someone demanding a ransom, the following should be considered:

  • In most cases, the best course of action is to hang up the phone.
  • If you do engage the caller, don’t call out your loved one’s name.
  • Try to slow the situation down. Request to speak to your family member directly. Ask, “How do I know my loved one is okay?”
  • Ask questions only the alleged kidnap victim would know, such as the name of a pet.
  • Avoid sharing information about yourself or your family.
  • Listen carefully to the voice of the alleged victim if they speak.
  • Attempt to contact the alleged victim via phone, text, or social media, and request that they call back from their cell phone.
  • To buy time, repeat the caller’s request and tell them you are writing down the demand, or tell the caller you need time to get things moving.
  • Don’t agree to pay a ransom, by wire or in person. Delivering money in person can be dangerous.

For more information visit the FBI online.

Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at

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