I heard about this on the news last night, then I found an article 2 1/2 years old about this–and I had never heard of this particular angle. Virtual kidnapping.
Apparently a bad guy calls who has faked the phone number of a loved one, like a college student. You THINK the call is coming from your son or daughter, you hear a muffled voice in the distance and then someone on the other end tells you don’t hang up and don’t call the police. You send them money or the kid is a goner.
Spoofing phone numbers is easy to do. The best thing to do is hang up and then call your loved one directly, hopefully your loved ond just answers calmly and you find that everything is fine and they have no idea what you’re talking about. If you get voice-mail, call 911 but then continue calling your child’s phone.
The bad guy will like all bad guys try to frighten you into sending them money, even though they don’t have your child, in fact they probably know nothing about the child. If they call back, ask them to tell you something only your loved one would know, where you went for your last vacation, the name of your pet, something like that. Don’t even use the name of your child because they probably don’t even know the name of the person they supposedly kidnapped.
Here’s the article by the AP… https://www.kxan.com/news/national-news/schools-nationwide-warn-of-virtual-kidnapping-scam-targeting-parents/994969527