26 March 2024

WATCH: Police want to identify man allegedly involved in student's virtual kidnapping

| Albert McKnight

Police want to identify this man over an alleged virtual kidnapping in the ACT. Photo: Screenshot.

An international student was allegedly targeted in a virtual kidnapping scam in the ACT last year, and police have now released footage hoping to identify a man they believe could assist with their inquiries.

An ACT Policing spokesperson said virtual kidnapping was a complex scam that often targeted international students.

Scammers contact their victim by phone and usually impersonate a person of authority from their home country.

“Scammers typically tell the victim they are linked to a crime and use information about the victim, either from social media or other sources, and fake documents to legitimise the scam,” the police spokesperson said.

“Eventually, scammers will convince the victim to leave their residence and demand money from the victim’s family.”

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In August 2023, an international student residing in the ACT was allegedly targeted by such scammers, resulting in a sum of money being paid.

Police now want to identify a man filmed in closed-circuit television footage who may be able to assist investigators with their inquiries.

He is described as being of an Asian background and was wearing glasses, a black suit and a tie at the time the footage was captured.

Anyone who can identify the man or has any information about this incident can contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or the Crime Stoppers ACT website. Quote reference 7542162.

ACT Policing says that identifying a virtual kidnapping scam may be difficult to spot initially.

However, police say you should never make a bank transfer or payment to anyone unless you have confirmed the person is who they say they are and never share information about yourself or others unless you know for certain who you are dealing with.

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Also, you should never leave your camera on, tell someone where you are or take photos or videos of yourself if asked by someone you don’t know.

Police say that you should check if the call is real by hanging up and calling the organisation they are claiming to be from. Use contact details you have found yourself.

If you’re unsure or are being threatened by a caller, hang up the phone and report suspicious behaviour to police and Scam Watch.

For police assistance in the ACT, call 131 444.

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