A phone screen displays a message warning of a potential spam call. Alaska Department of Public Safety warns of a new scam involving text messages sent to the family members of missing people. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

A phone screen displays a message warning of a potential spam call. Alaska Department of Public Safety warns of a new scam involving text messages sent to the family members of missing people. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Department of Public Safety warns of scam targeting families of missing people

Scammers trawl social media for info, according to the department.

  • Juneau Empire
  • Tuesday, March 2, 2021 8:02pm
  • News

A new scam is targeting families of missing people, and scammers have already reached out to Alaskans, according to Alaska Department of Public Safety.

Internet trolls are searching social media posts related to missing people and taking advantage of the information they find to send text messages to the family members of missing people, the Department of Public Safety said in a news release. During the scam, scammers claim they have kidnapped the missing person, who has become sick, according to the department. Scammers then demand a ransom for the missing person’s safe return.

The scammer warns people to not contact the police and attempts to trick people into sending money via PayPal or a similar application, according to the department.

“This scam is particularly disturbing and abhorrent as distraught families are already navigating the uncertainty and grief associated with their loved one’s disappearance,” stated Col. Bryan Barlow, director of the Alaska State Troopers, in the release. “Not only will the family potentially fall for the scam and lose money, the scam itself can exponentially intensify the grief and anxiety they are already feeling. We must raise public awareness for these despicable scams for the well-being of all Alaskans.”

Department of Public Safety advises people who receive such a message not to respond to the message. Instead, they are advised to report the scam to akcic@alaska.gov and also notify the agency that has case responsibility for the missing person case.

• Contact the Juneau Empire newsroom at (907)308-4895.

More in News

(Juneau Empire File)
Aurora forecast for the week of Nov. 27

These forecasts are courtesy of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Geophysical Institute… Continue reading

Girls teams face off on the twin courts of the main gym at Juneau-Douglas Yadaa.at Kalé High School during the Juneau Invitational Volleyball Extravaganza on Oct. 15, 2022. The Juneau Board of Education on Friday unanimously voted to seek advice from outside council on a new state policy banning transgender girls from high school sports teams. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
School board unanimously votes to seek outside legal advice on new statewide transgender sports ban

Juneau reportedly first district to take step that may lead to lawsuit challenging policy.

A Capital City Fire/Rescue truck parks outside the main entrance of the Riverview Senior Living complex Monday after Nathan Bishop, 58, is found alive in the attic 40 hours after being reported missing from the facility where he is a resident. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
State reviewing Riverview Senior Living after missing resident found in attic 40 hours later

Officials unaware of similar cases in Alaska; facility says steps to prevent such incidents underway

Search and rescue officials examine the area about 11 miles south of the center of Wrangell where a landslide occurred on Nov. 20. Five people are confirmed dead from the landslide and one still missing. (Photo courtesy of Alaska Department of Public Safety)
Body of fifth Wrangell landslide victim found; one person still missing

Otto Florschutz, 65, found Thursday evening; Derek Heller, 12, still missing among family of five.

Varieties of kelp are seen underwater. A U.S. Department of Energy-funded project will investigate whether kelp and other seaweed in the waters off Alaska’s Prince of Wales Island can absorb significant amounts of rare earth elements that leach out from the Bokan Mountain site. (National Marine Sanctuary photo provided by NOAA)
Federally funded project will search for rare earth elements in Southeast Alaska seaweed

What if prized rare earth elements could be extracted from seaweed, avoiding… Continue reading

Angie Flick (center), finance director for the City and Borough of Juneau, provides details of an early draft of next year’s municipal budget to Assembly members as City Manager Katie Koester (left) and Budget Manager Adrien Wendel listen during a Finance Committee meeting Wednesday night in the Assembly Chambers. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Assembly members prepare to retreat so they can move ahead on next year’s budget

“Very draft” $190 million spending plan for FY25 based on status quo has $1 million deficit.

(Michael Penn / Juneau Empire File)
Police calls for Monday, Nov. 27, 2023

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

The front page of the Juneau Empire on Nov. 30, 2005. (Photo by Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Empire Archives: Juneau’s history for the week of Dec. 3

Three decades of capital city coverage.

Cheyenne Latu (left), a pharmacy technician at Ron’s Apothecary Shoppe, and business co-owner Gretchen Watts hang a poster at the front counter Thursday announcing the store’s closure after Dec. 6 as Jessica Kirtley, another pharmacy technician, works at the front register. The nearby Safeway supermarket has agreed to take the prescriptions of all customers as well as hire all of the independent pharmacy’s employees, according to the co-owners who are retiring. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Ron’s Apothecary Shoppe closing after nearly 50 years as co-owners retire; last day is Dec. 6

Safeway taking over all prescriptions and offering jobs to all employees, according to owners.

Most Read