6 Common Kidnap and Ransom Scenarios

Kidnap and ransom is increasingly becoming an epidemic on a global scale.  It has become one of the most lucrative and sinister businesses on the planet and rapidly escalating each year. Research shows that only less than 20% of kidnapping incidents are reported with an estimated 15,000 to 20,000 occurring per year. (investopedia.com)

Common targets include high net worth individuals, those that work for large companies in the public domain, or companies with an unpopular product or reputation.

Here are 6 common kidnap and ransom scenarios to be aware of:

Express Kidnapping

Express kidnapping is one of the hottest forms of kidnapping and is on the rise.  A victim is typically an unsuspecting volunteer who gets into a taxi.  The perpetrator then takes the unknowing passenger up a few blocks to pick-up the kidnappers.  Victims are taken to several different banking or ATM locations and made to withdraw maximum limits.  Many victims are held overnight and made to repeat the withdrawals so the kidnappers can capitalize on their gain.  Occasionally, these victims are released unharmed, but typically most are robbed and assaulted, and some are held for longer if the kidnappers believe they may obtain financial gain by ransoming to family or an employer.

High Net Worth Individual Kidnapping

These types of kidnappings are executed by experienced or professional gangs.  A high-net-worth kidnapping is more strategically planned and requires a surveillance and intelligence gathering period. The perpetrators study the targeted victims to learn habits, discover security measures, and determine the prime opportunity for the kidnapping. Once they capture the target, the perpetrator gives ransom demands to the family or company. Typically, once the ransom has been paid the captive is released.

Tiger Kidnapping

Like the tiger that stalks its prey, watching and waiting patiently, so do the predators of tiger kidnapping.  This is a multi-layered criminal activity.  A tiger kidnapping is one that is strategically planned over a period, and the item or victim of the kidnapping is used as leverage to force an innocent third party victim to commit an illegal act on behalf of the kidnappers.  Due to the nature of these crimes, they are very rarely reported since the victim also becomes guilty of criminal activity. (crimemuseum.org)

Political/Terrorist Kidnapping

Terrorist organizations utilize kidnapping to make political statements, force political concessions, negotiate the release of political prisoners, better leverage their military and fund their organizations financially.  These groups target Expatriates, national natives, Westerners, oil and gas workers, government and non-governmental workers, mid-level managers, aid workers, and journalists.

Virtual Kidnapping

With the growth of technology, so grows the opportunity.  Although virtual kidnapping is not an actual abduction of an individual, it is a scam that capitalizes on panic, fear, and urgency.  These acts are usually carried out by individuals or groups.  A victim receives a call stating that their child or loved one has been kidnapped and demands immediate payment.  These callers use scare tactics such as being watched, using a co-conspirator to scream and cry as well as making them believe they were specifically targeted to keep their victims on the phone and unable to verify the “abducted” individuals whereabouts until a payment has been received.  The FBI has issued several warnings regarding the rise in these scams in the US.

Unlawful Detention

Unlawful detention does not involve ransom but covers a larger variety of issues ranging from child custody, illegal imprisonment, prostitution, slave labor, sexual predation and forced marriages. (catlin.com)

Be Prepared

At Universal Safety & Security Solutions, we provide customized consulting and training solutions to deal with kidnap and ransom situations. Proper planning is essential for a positive outcome. Contact Us today to set up a consultation with a trained security professional to determine which solution will best address the needs of your company.

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Related Links:

Kidnap & Ransom Today: A Report By Catlin Group Limited (PDF)

A Guide to Kidnap & Ransom Insurance Coverage

Crime Museum: Tiger Kidnapping