SINGAPORE: A man lost S$5,000 in a kidnap scam after he was told that his "son" had been caught by loansharks, and that he would not be released until the money owed was paid back.
Out of fear the victim, who wanted to be known as "Mr Sim", remitted money to the scammers hoping that his "son" would not be harmed.
Police said the victim did not conduct any verification with his son.
The alleged kidnappers had initially asked for S$18,000.
Police said the highest amount of money cheated in a single kidnap scam case since 2010 was S$27,000 in 2011.
Victims usually make payment to the scammers via remittances.
Most calls from scammers come from foreign numbers.
Police said kidnap phone scams aim to cheat victims by creating fear, giving the impression that their loved ones have been kidnapped.
The criminals would usually claim to have kidnapped the victim's child and demand for ransom to be remitted to the criminals' account.
Criminals would make their ruse believable by including cries for help in the background.
They may also get their accomplices to pose as the "kidnapped" family member, crying for help and claiming to have been beaten up or injured to make the scam more realistic.
During the conversation, the criminals would not allow the victims to speak with their loved ones, who have supposedly been kidnapped.
The police advises those who believe that they are victims of a kidnap scam to do the following:
a. Call Police immediately at '999' to report the case;
b. Remain calm and contact your loved one to confirm his/her safety; and
c. Do not remit any money.