An American woman who ran out of money while travelling around India has been arrested after attempting to scam her own parents out of money by faking her own kidnapping.
27-year-old American tourist, Chloe McLaughlin, from Washington DC had run out of money while travelling around India and started sending ransom emails to her parents attempting to get them to send money while thinking their daughter was being held captive. The Indian Express reported how after McLaughlin arrived in India on 3 May, she emailed her family and spoke to them via a video call, telling them she was facing threats of physical violence, emotional abuse, and was in an "unsafe environment".
She then sent emails requesting ransom payments and followed up with a video call on 10 July, in which she appeared to be asking for money under duress.
The attempted scam started to fall apart when McLaughlin's parents contacted the Indian police and the American embassy. Authorities tracked her location from the IP address from which the ransom emails and calls were sent, this led them to an apartment in Noida, a city on the outskirts of Dehli.
Deputy Police Commissioner Amrutha Guguloth said: "The woman, the daughter of a former US army officer, had staged the incident to emotionally blackmail her parents."
When authorities found McLaughlin, they discovered she was living with a 31-year-old Nigerian man she had met online,
McLaughlin and Okoroafor Chibuike Okoro had started living together after meeting on social media over a mutual interest in music.
The family sent all the information to the New Delhi District Cyber Unit, and the US Embassy forwarded the family's complaint to the police.
The police then arrested Okoro before Ms McLaughlin confessed to the entire plot.