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Cyber Kidnapping picks pace in the United States

Attention to all Chinese-origin students currently participating in exchange programs in the United States: Be aware of the growing threat of ‘Cyber Kidnapping’ targeting individuals who are not vigilant. Hackers have been contacting parents in China, demanding a significant sum for the release of their children studying in America. This deceptive scheme coerces both parties into paying approximately $80,000, which ends up in the digital wallets of these cyber criminals.

In a recent case, a 17-year-old student named Kai Zhuang was reported missing by his parents. However, investigations revealed that the student had willingly gone to a remote location, deliberately avoiding technology and law enforcement. The Utah police played a crucial role in swiftly resolving the situation. By utilizing data such as purchase history, phone records, and the geo-location of the kidnapped student’s mobile device, they were able to track him down to a remote mountainous region. He was found in a tent, suffering from severe cold and fear.

The FBI has taken note of this incident and issued a warning, stating that such cases have seen an increase in the past few months. They also highlighted the use of deep fake technology and AI tools by cyber criminals in virtual kidnapping. In these instances, the perpetrators manipulate a student’s or an employee’s image or video, creating misleading visual content that is sent to their family or friends to extract money. By the time the parties involved realize the deception, the hackers have already collected the funds and vanished.

The Student Exchange Program, which encourages students to study abroad in partner institutions, is a valuable opportunity for academic and cultural growth. Participants not only gain new academic perspectives but also immerse themselves in different cultures, lifestyles, and languages, making them highly employable in the global job market.

Key Points:
1. Chinese-origin students in exchange programs in the United States are being targeted by cyber kidnappers.
2. Hackers contact parents in China, demanding a significant ransom for the release of their children.
3. Recent case of a missing student resolved by Utah police using data and technology.
4. FBI warns of the increase in cyber kidnapping cases and the use of deep fake technology.
5. The Student Exchange Program offers valuable academic and cultural growth opportunities.

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