On an uncharacteristically rainy Southern California day, Kathie gets a call that will change her life. Her cellphone displays the caller as unknown. Even though she’s hesitant, Kathie decides to answer. On the line she hears screaming and a man claiming to have Kathie’s daughter. The man addresses both Kathie and her daughter by name, but something about the interaction feels off. Terrified, Kathie isn’t sure what to do next. Unbeknownst to Kathie, she has been drawn into a “virtual kidnapping,” a horrific extortion-based scam that’s claiming victims across the country. In the first half of this two-part episode, you’ll learn how these scams operate and why they’re so successful.
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