El Paso Area Priest ‘Virtually’ Kidnapped – What It Is And What You Should Do If It Happens To You
The Catholic Diocese of El Paso said a priest from Clint was 'virtually' kidnapped this week while he was in Juarez celebrating mass. Father Faustino Oritz-Suarez of the San Lorenzo Parish in Clint, was told by perpetrators that a ransom demand was going to be made and if he didn't lay low, someone he cared for would be hurt. The Diocese said it does not know if this is how Father Faustino's "kidnapping" happened, but there was no ransom paid and Fr. Faustino returned Tuesday evening to El Paso.
So what is 'virtual' kidnapping and what should you do if you fall victim to this scam? Virtual kidnapping is when you are contacted by someone who says they have your personal information, including phone numbers. They say they will contact your family or friends with a ransom demand, and until the perpetrator gets the money, you are to disappear and not contact anyone or answer your phone. If you do contact your loved ones, the perpetrators say they will find them and hurt them.
The FBI says if you are contacted by someone who tries to scam you like this, call them immediately at 832-5000. FBI officials have also said that some of theses scams have been traced to Mexican prison inmates who get smuggled cellphones and have run this scam on both sides of the border.
There are other kidnapping scams that have been reported recently, including the so-called 'hostage' kidnapping scam. That is when a person's family is notified that their loved one is being held for ransom in a foreign country, or they were in a car accident, or owe a drug debt. In any of these cases, you should call 9-1-1, or the FBI immediately.