LATEST SCAM IN SPAIN: ‘Virtual kidnapping’ reigning terror across the country

ONE would certainly shriek in horror to receive a spine-chilling call from an unknown number where a man’s voice calmly states: “Either you pay 10,000 euros or we will cut off your daughter’s finger.”

This was exactly the case for a 69-year-old woman in Madrid, Spain, who sat down one afternoon and received a frightening call at home. Here, a man told her that he had kidnapped her daughter and if she ever wanted to see her again it would cost €10,000 for her safe return. The ‘kidnapper’ then ordered the mother to go to their bank or the daughter’s finger would be sliced off.

Evidently alarmed, the woman told her husband to call the police immediately whilst she raced to the nearest cashier. Upon receiving the notice, officers from the National Police also rushed to the bank, well aware that it was a possible scam. In fact, the force is all too familiar with these types of calls, where in 2019 they detected 130 cases of ‘virtual kidnapping’ across the country.

Thankfully, officers arrived at the scene before the large withdrawal was made, whilst the daughter was located at work in perfect condition. 

However, the National Police have shed light on this case to warn those residing in Spain of the terrifying scam which is carried out by a sophisticated criminal gang. The police explain that the group prey on vulnerable victims and intend to inflict the maximum distress through threats of violence.

In all of the detected cases, the calls are made by withheld numbers, where they even use third parties to mimic cries of pain from their alleged victims. Commonly, they try to keep their victims on the phone for as long as possible to avoid any calls being made to the police or other family members. They then ask that money is wired to them through transfer companies to avoid being detected by the authorities. 

The National Police urge anyone who receives any type of call of this nature to contact the police immediately and in no circumstances to hand over money to anyone that they do not know. 

Author badge placeholder
Written by

Isha Sesay