In this Facebook post, Wisconsin resident Savannah Nguyen (pictured right) warns us about a devious scheme that her mom, Sony (pictured left) narrowly managed to avoid.
After a long day of shopping, Sony went over to her car and noticed a large white SUV with tinted windows pulling up to her. The lot was empty except for her, so Sony’s survival instincts kicked in and she sped away. As she drove, she heard a rattling on her windshield.
Luckily, Sony managed to escape before being distracted by this “gift” that was tucked underneath her windshield. It’s a popular scheme for human traffickers: they leave an expensive piece of jewelry on the windshield wiper, and then the hapless and confused driver goes out to retrieve it. Then the criminals kidnap the person before they know what hit them.
Savannah wrote a long note on her Facebook page that advises everyone to stay safe:
“This is exactly how human trafficking and abductions take place. They probably watched her get out of her car and placed it on her window, and waited for her to come back. Who knows what would have happened if my mom had gotten out of her car to see what was under her windshield while she was still in the parking lot. Of course a person would be curious and want to read the writing on the bag, but in the two seconds it takes you to grab the bag from under the windshield to read what is on there, it might already be too late. Bad things can happen in the blink of an eye.
I STRONGLY urge everyone to tell your loved ones about this scenario, whether it be your daughter, son, sister, brother, mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, or friends – and/or share this post and get the word out. This happened in broad daylight to my own mom (a forty something year old mother of four) in Appleton, WI, and could happen to anyone, anywhere, at any time. Human trafficking and kidnapping is real, and not a topic to be taken lightly. You don’t think it will happen to you until it does. I stop by the mall by myself all of the time. After this situation, I would not recommend anybody go there by themselves, or go anywhere by themselves for that matter. Especially teenage girls. ALWAYS try to travel in groups, and ALWAYS stay alert in parking lots or public places, especially at night. Don’t look at your phone when you’re walking to your car, and if you don’t have pepper spray, hold your hand in a fist with your keys between your fingers, perpendicular to your bones, until you get into your vehicle. It is so easy for predators to lure or target young women who are alone. So be smart, stay alert, and make it a priority to learn to defend yourself physically. Some people’s instincts and reactions don’t kick in until after the few seconds it takes for someone to sneak up and grab you from behind, and god forbid it be too late to save yourself. PLEASE BE CAREFUL!!!!”
It’s a scary world out there and we need to watch out for each other! There are too many dangerous and cunning people on the loose, and it’s best to educate ourselves and learn to recognize imminent danger when we see it. And remember: if it looks too good to be true, run.