A scam is targeting family members of missing people across the country including in Alaska. Alaska State Trooper spokesperson Austin McDaniel says scammers are searching social media posts to find relatives of missing persons.
"They locate phone numbers of names associated with missing persons, and they've been texting or contacting the phone numbers that are listed, claiming that they have that missing person and they’re demanding ransom.”
A Trooper press release warning Alaskans about the scam says the caller claims the missing person was kidnapped and now is sick, and demands money for their safe return. There are numerous recent missing persons cases in Alaska but McDaniel would not say whether scammers are targeting family members of any particular cases.
"There have been multiple instances occurring within the state of Alaska, and we hope that Alaskans will beome aware of this type of scam occurring.”
McDaniel stresses that anyone contacted should not respond, but instead reach out to the law enforcement agency handling the missing person’s case referenced.
"Additionally they can email the information to: AKVIC@Alaska.gov. Forward that communication you had with the scammers over to that address and they can look into it.”
McDaniel would not say whether anyone in Alaskan has lost any money as a result of the missing person’s scam.