Beware! Rising cyber kidnappings pose threat as Riverdale teen targeted.

January 2, 2024
1 min read

A cyber security expert has warned about the increasing trend of cyber kidnappings after a foreign exchange student was targeted in Riverdale, Utah. The student’s family sent $80,000 in response to cyber threats alleging that the student was being held hostage. The expert noted that these types of crimes are becoming more accessible due to advancements in technology, and emphasized the need for multiple communication channels and verification of identities when dealing with these incidents.

In the case of the Riverdale incident, police found the missing student after his family reported him missing. The police discovered that cyber criminals had manipulated both the student and his family through the tactic of cyber kidnapping. The student was found self-isolated in a tent during the winter months, fearful for his family’s safety.

The cyber security expert, Brandon Amacher, explained how perpetrators manipulate victims, especially those who are unfamiliar with their surroundings, by collecting information through online sources. He emphasized the importance of having multiple communication channels beyond just a phone number, such as a verified messaging service or a trusted individual. He also suggested involving local law enforcement or U.S. consulates in international cases.

Amacher highlighted the need to verify identities and be cautious of red flags, such as compressed timetables and reluctance to allow direct communication, which may indicate potential hoaxes. He also stressed the realistic appearance of these threats due to technological advancements, making it crucial for individuals to be vigilant and take appropriate measures to protect themselves and their families.

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