TORREVIEJA’S Guardia Civil took part in a sneaky online operation to uncover a false ‘virtual kidnapping’ taking place on another continent, according to Spanish media.
A Guardamar del Segura resident, aged 60, contacted police to say that whilst on a video call, his friend has been rung by a gang in Brazil claiming to have taken the lady’s family hostage.
During a lengthy conversation, strangers told the victim they had kidnapped her daughter, son-in-law and three granddaughters – all of whom live in Brazil – and asked for money for their release.
The victim’s friend told police to come to his house to witness the phone conversation that the woman, 72, was having.
The supposed hostage takers were trying to extract around €2,000 from the woman, who had been told to cut the video call off, but had only disabled the sound.
After threatening to harm the family, the gang extracted card details from their elderly victim.
Once police arrived, they began communicating with the woman through a series of written signs, despite the hostage takers claiming to be monitoring the phones and devices in her home.
The supposed captors took turns in talking during the marathon conversation and even impersonated victims at one stage, according to Spanish press.
Meanwhile, police were communicating with the lady and were simultaneously in touch with the Spanish embassy in Brazil, allowing information to be shared with Brazilian police.
Within 11 hours, authorities had located the family and confirmed they were completely unharmed.
The ‘virtual kidnapping’ technique is not uncommon in Brazil.
The Brazilian authorities are continuing their investigations.