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Kidnappers using social networks

Guatemalan Kidnappers Use Online Social Networks


GUATEMALA - The use of social networking websites to kidnap people is on the rise in Guatemala, the local press reported on Thursday.

Facebook, Hi5, MySpace, and Tagged are some of the websites where criminals look for the people they later abduct, Prensa Libre newspaper said, based on investigations by the Public Ministry.

Investigators have information about five cases in which the kidnappers chose their victims through those sites. The targets are chiefly people between 10 and 25 years old who are invited by unknown persons who claim to be of the same age.

Guatemalan authorities reported that five or six kidnapping gangs are operating in the country, but a new one using that method is being sought.

The kidnappers begin operating when they create false accounts on those websites, with false data and photos. Then they invite the victims to chat, they get their information, and finally they abduct them.

The accounts are created at cybercafes, making it difficult to identify the criminals, the article said.