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Burnaby RCMP warn of virtual kidnapping scam targeting international students

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Mounties in Burnaby are out with a warning about virtual kidnapping scams targeting international students, sharing the details of a recent case where the victim was tricked out of tens of thousands of dollars.

In a statement Tuesday, authorities said the victim, a Chinese national who is studying in B.C., was extorted over a period of several months.

It began in August, the Burnaby RCMP's statement says, when the student got a phone call from two people who said they were Chinese police officers and told him he had been identified as a suspect in an ongoing investigation.

"Over the course of several weeks, the suspects directed the victim to make a series of hostage videos, telling the victim it would help his court case," according to the media release.

"The victim was also pressured into paying the suspects tens of thousands of dollars using an online money transfer app, with the suspects telling him the money would be used for legal fees in his court case."

In November, the videos were sent to the victim's family along with a ransom demand. Mounties say the family became "suspicious of the circumstances" and contacted the Burnaby detachment

"Officers were able to confirm the safety of the victim, who had been instructed by the suspects to go into hiding."

An investigation into the case is ongoing but a spokesperson for the Burnaby RCMP said the details are being shared in an attempt to raise awareness.

“This extortion scam escalated over more than two months, with these scammers going to great lengths to demand money from the victim and then his family,” said Sgt. Freda Fong.

“While these types of frauds can be convincing, we urge everyone, including international students and Chinese nationals living in Canada, to be aware of warning signs of virtual kidnapping scams.” Top Stories

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