EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — Scammers are targeting families who post missing person information on social media, a new twist on an old scheme.

“Over the past three years, the FBI has seen an increase in this kind of scam, where they’re trying to exploit information that family members have put online,” said Jeanette Harper, public affairs officer at the FBI El Paso Division.

The FBI is warning the public of telephonic coercion schemes that extort quick ransom payments from families of missing persons after being manipulated to believe the fraudster can return the loved one.

“These families aren’t necessarily seeing the good in humanity,” said Harper. “They’re also bringing out the cruel and the scammers.”

These scams are carried out through social engineering by gathering information that families post online, oftentimes including specific details about the missing person.

“A lot of vulnerable family members have…

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