Telephone extortion is a growing criminal activity in Venezuela, in which criminals scare their victims as they claim to have vital information about their family members and threaten them to kidnap or kill one of them unless they pay an amount of money.
How does telephone extortion work?
Criminals makes initial contact through a phone call claiming they’ve just received a call from that number, which is obviously not true. In other cases they get phone numbers from social networks or employees or relatives or acquaintances of the potential victims.
Extorters call the people who answer by their name and then proceed to threaten them by saying that unless they pay an amount of money they will go against them or against a family member.
Some keywords usually employed by telephone extorters are: “We got him/her kidnapped or we’re going to kill him/her”, “We know where you live, we know all your moves and your family”, “I’m following you right now” or “I’m in front of your house or in front of your kids’ school right now”.
The usually negotiate the original amounts of money based on their conversations with the victim.
Extortion calls usually occur between 7:00 am and 12:00 noon and between 1:00 pm and 6:00 pm, when family members are separated by their daily activities.
According to police sources, a significant percentage of these calls originate from prison, with the help of criminals in the outside.