Global perspective of an Irish expat travel hacker with a serious case of wanderlust who has visted 60+ countries while living on 5 continents. My passion is travel. WARNING! - may contain foul language, nudity and Irish humour!
True story - We were having dinner at my in-laws yesterday who had just returned from vacation in Brazil.
In the middle of dinner the phone rang.
My father-in-law (Osvaldo) picked up the phone, but the line was scratchy and almost inaudible.
Osvaldo:- Unable to hear properly thinks it might be his son who lives in Paraguay - "Is that you Pablo?"
Caller:- "Something bad has happened - Someone close to you"
Caller: - "They're hurt bad"
Caller:- "It's uh.....Pablo - he's hurt"
Osvaldo:- "Adios - hincha pelotta" as he hangs up the phone, realising this is a scam.
We just experienced first hand a fairly common occurrence here -virtual extortion
Pablo was fine and enjoying his dinner in Paraguay. Osvaldo had unwittingly revealed the name 'Pablo' and now the caller could use that to invent any story he liked. Had the call continued, most likely he would have been asked to deliver money at a drop off point if he wanted to see his son again.
There other scam is from a caller who wants the victim to buy phone cards and read off the numbers if they want to see their loved one again. An unusual ransom one might think. The caller is in prison and exploits uncertainty, fear and panic in people. They have practiced and honed their skills overt time and can get the victim to volunteer names. They have recordings of people screaming to add authenticity. A surprisingly large number of people are duped. The scam is said to have originated in Mexico where real kidnappings are common place but is now widespread. So before you part with your cash - try calling the 'missing' person. Chances are they're oblivious to their supposed plight. We live in a virtual world.