Scammers are targeting family members of missing Alaskans, troopers say

A bulletin board with several missing peersons papers
Missing person bulletins posted by Alaska State Troopers (Dan Bross/KUAC)

A nationwide scam is targeting family members of missing Alaskans. Alaska State Troopers spokesperson Austin McDaniel said scammers are searching social media posts to find relatives of missing people.

“Locate phone numbers of names associated with missing persons, and they’ve been texting or contacting the phone numbers that are listed, claiming that they have that missing person and they’re demanding ransom,” McDaniel said.

A trooper press release warning Alaskans about the scam said the caller claims the missing person was kidnapped and now is sick and demands money for their safe return. There are numerous recent missing person cases in Alaska, but McDaniel would not say whether scammers are targeting family members of any particular cases.

“There have been multiple instances occurring within the state of Alaska, and we hope that Alaskans will become aware of this type of scam occurring,” McDaniel said.

McDaniel stressed anyone contacted should not respond, but reach out to the law enforcement agency handling the missing person’s case.

“Additionally, they can email the information to AKVIC@Alaska.gov. Forward that communication you had with the scammers over to that address and they can look into it,” he said.

McDaniel would not say whether anyone in Alaska has lost any money as a result of the missing person scam.