Saanich Police are warning the public about “virtual kidnapping” scams. (Black Press Media file photo)

Saanich police warn of ‘virtual kidnapping’ fraud scams

Victims contacted by scammers claiming to be Chinese Police

The Saanich Police Department is warning the public – specifically the Chinese community – about “virtual kidnappings.”

On Wednesday, Saanich detectives were called to assist with an ongoing incident in Vancouver. A Saanich family was contacted by someone claiming that a family member in Vancouver was in danger and demanded money for their release. The family immediately contacted local police to report the kidnapping.

This was “instrumental in thwarting [the] fraud attempt,” said Det. Staff Sgt. Chris Horsely of the Saanich Police Department.

The scheme is elaborate and there have been several similar incidents. First, the victim receives a phone call from someone claiming to be from the Chinese Consulate and is told that there is a warrant for their arrest in China, Horsley explained. Or, the caller claims to be from the Chinese Police and says they need help with an investigation. The caller tells the scam victim to go into hiding and make fake kidnap videos. The scammer then sends the videos to the victim’s family or friends asking for money in exchange for their release.

READ ALSO: Missing 84-year-old Saanich man with Alzheimer’s found in Esquimalt

Horsley emphasized that police from outside the country cannot arrest people in Canada and will never “ask for photos or videos of [you] pretending to be a victim of crime.”

“Any contact from international authorities should be through your local police,” he explained.

People can protect themselves by calling the non-emergency line of the local police department if they’re contacted by someone claiming to be from the Chinese Consulate or the Chinese Police. Horsely also recommends spreading the word about the extortion scams with family, students and visitors from mainland China.

Horsley noted that all contact from foreign governments would come through local police, Canadian and Chinese authorities would never ask people to destroy their phone or take photos and videos pretending to be kidnapped.

The Saanich police are here to help if you feel unsafe or threatened, said Horsley. Anyone who receives similar calls is asked to contact the Saanich Police by dialing 911 or calling the non-emergency line at 250-475-4321 – even if the caller tells you not to.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Langford approves permit for 124-unit mass timber building

Tallwood 1 to be completed by late 2021

Victoria man in custody after shooting in 100-block of Gorge Road East

The man is facing recommended charges including assault with a weapon

Undercover operation exposes prominent human trafficking problem in Greater Victoria

VicPD’s Operation No More took place in mid-June at a local hotel

Book stores in Victoria notice uptick in sales for anti-racism titles

White Fragility, How to be an Antiracist are among the best selling titles

‘This year is unlike any other’: Trudeau delivers Canada day address

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and the Prime Minister release video celebrating the national holiday

Tsilhqot’in Nation demands meeting with feds on declining Fraser River chinook stocks

The Nation wants to partner with DFO to rebuild and recover the stocks

Gov. General honours Canadians for bravery, volunteer service

Five categories of winners presented on Canada Day

COVID-19: Should non-medical masks be mandatory in Canada?

New poll shows Canadians are divided on the rules around mandatory masks

‘A little bit scary for everybody’: Air passengers wary as new rules take effect

Masks or face coverings have been mandatory on flights since April 20

VIDEO: Prince William and Kate chat with B.C. hospital staff about COVID-19

Seven-minute video posted to Youtube on Canada Day

River centre says heavy rains could bring flooding to central, northeastern B.C.

Water levels are already unusually high and river banks can be extremely unstable

Campbell River’s defunct cruise ship terminal to undergo evaluation for future plans

With no cruise ship coming through, the $16million terminal has been a white elephant for over 13 years

Most Read