The Common Tricks Child Abductors Use

Are you familiar with the news show segments testing children’s safety knowledge? They often feature “strangers” trying to lure children with offers of ice cream, modeling contracts, or other goodies. Too many times, these tricks are successful.

In these scenarios, even children who know better often ignore their safety rules. Would-be abductors count on this. They know that while many children are taught to avoid strangers, they may not be taught to recognize abduction tactics.

The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® has noted the use of more than 100 of these tactics.

Some examples

The Offer Trick

The Trick: A child is offered something desirable – like candy, money, toys, or a ride

Beat It: Children should not accept gifts without your permission. Use teachable moments, like when a friend or relative offers a gift, to practice this concept to your child.

The Animal Trick

The Trick: A cute or interesting animal is used to get the child to follow or enter a vehicle or home.

Beat It: Teach your children to never enter anyone’s vehicle or home without your permission.

The Emergency Trick

The Trick: Someone fakes an emergency and offers to take the child to another location.

Beat It: Instruct your child to never go anywhere with anyone without asking the permission of the adult in charge. Have your child practice saying, “I can’t go with you until I check with my mom/dad/teacher” in a firm voice and walking away.

The Help Trick

The Trick: The child is asked to help with something such as directions, looking for a lost pet, or carrying something.

Beat It: Adults should ask other adults for help, not children. Have your child practice saying, “I can’t help you” in a firm voice. Teach children to stand at least one to two arms’ lengths away while interacting with unknown adults.

The Friend Trick

The Trick: A person tells the child he or she has been sent by the child’s parent. Sometimes the person actually does know the parent.

Beat It: Talk to your child’s school about obtaining permission from you before releasing your child to anyone.

The “Bad” Child Trick

The Trick: Someone accuses the child of doing something wrong and says the child must go with him or her.

Beat It: Teach your child to always check with you or the adult in charge before going anywhere with anyone. Instruct children to immediately tell you if someone approaches them or tries to take them away.

The Flattery/Model Trick

The Trick: Someone compliments the child and asks to take his or her picture. The person may promise the child fame or fortune.

Beat It: Instruct your child not to accompany anyone anywhere without your permission. Teach older children that a legitimate photographer or casting agency will try to talk to a parent or guardian, not a child.

The Open-The-Door Trick

The Trick: Someone tries to get the child to answer the door when the parents aren’t home.

Beat It: Remind your children they shouldn’t open the door for anyone when you aren’t home. Let them know legitimate service people will return.

Practice a response:

The more children practice, the better prepared they will be in a real situation.