5 Real Tips For Surviving A Kidnapping

by Lydia Bugg

You might be surprised to learn that there are kidnapping schools in the United States. Don’t worry it’s not a “how to kidnap” situation -- that would be pretty hard to explain to the tax collectors. They teach how to avoid and escape kidnapping to wealthy clients who travel internationally, where the risk of kidnapping is greater.

Since the majority of you aren't wealthy and don't have the time to sit in their classes all day, we figured we'd impart some of that wisdom for free. So suck it, free market.


How To Escape From Bindings

When you picture someone tied up, it’s probably with rope on an old timey railroad track with Snidely Whiplash standing over them. These days duct tape and zip ties are more accessible than rope, and most people consider them harder to escape. However, there’s a simple trick that can help you easily escape both.

Make sure to offer the kidnapper your hands with the insides of your wrists placed firmly together. This position looks pretty helpless and will allow the wrists to be bound very tightly ... but that’s what you want. It’s difficult to wiggle out of duct tape or zip ties, but what you can easily do is put enough pressure on them that they snap open like a woman’s bra when Benedict Cumberbatch comes on TV.

They call him "The Boob Whisperer".

Just hold your hands above your head and force them down over your stomach as quickly as possible. The force will cause both duct tape and zip ties to tear. It’ll hurt a little, and it’s not something you can do stealthily ... but if you see a chance for escape, you can easily break your hands free.

You can free your legs using a modified version of the same technique. While sitting, clasp your freed hands together and shove them quickly into the tape, forcing your legs apart and the tape to bust open.

Although this method works for both duct tape and zip ties, the latter is much harder. If you’re having trouble with it, you can also try tying your shoelaces together and using them to saw through the zip ties as demonstrated in this video.

Escaping A Car Trunk

If you’re trapped in a modern car, you’re in luck! OK, you’d be luckier if you were trapped inside a big silo of M&Ms or a skeleton key factory ... or not trapped anywhere at all. But at least you’re luckier than someone trapped in the trunk of an older model vehicle. It’s important to see the big picture.

If the car was manufactured after Septermber 1, 2001, the trunk is required to be equipped with a glow in the dark release handle. They’re extremely easy to locate and use because they were designed mainly to help children from becoming accidentally trapped in a car trunk.

Lydia Bugg

Lydia Bugg

Wait, no, that's the eject lever!

However, it’s not impossible for someone to disable this mechanism if they have planned to kidnap you in advance. There’s also always the possibility of becoming trapped in a car that was manufactured before the law went into effect. Either way there are a few things you can do to escape the trunk of a car without using the safety handle.

Most cars have a spare tire jack underneath the carpeting in the back seat. If you can manage to get it out from underneath you and set it up, you can raise the jack until the trunk is forced open.

If you feel like you might be on a major highway, possibly because of the speed of the car or because you might be hearing other cars go by, another option is to attempt to kick out the brake lights. You should be able to pull back the carpeting near the edges of the trunk and feel where the brake lights are. If you can break a hole in them you can then learn your arm out and wave to signal other passing vehicles. A waving arm protruding from a trunk is fairly suspicious and will hopefully signal passing motorists to call the police. Or at least to tell everyone about the friendly car they met today.

Don’t Lie About Your Income

Most of the time people are kidnapped for a reason, and that reason is usually money. This may sound really weird, but if you're ever being held for ransom, don’t lie about your income.

Your instinct might be to undersell your worth in hopes of your family not having to pay as high of a ransom. The thing is, there’s a certain number that makes your kidnapping no longer cost effective. If the kidnapper decides you aren’t worth the hassle, they’re not just going to drop you off at McDonalds and buy you an apology Happy Meal.

"No toy? Man, this day is just turning out GREAT."

You also don’t want to risk inflating your income too much. If the kidnappers are expecting to be able to get a certain amount from you and they find out you can’t even afford to buy them an apology Happy Meal, that’s not going to go well for you either.

Your safest option is to be honest about your income. Chances are in a ransom situation they already have some idea of what they are going to be able to get from you. They might even already know exactly what you make and are just asking you as a test. Either way honesty is always the best policy. Even to scumbag, piece of crap kidnappers.

Humanize Yourself To The Kidnapper

There are a couple of different things you can do to humanize yourself to a kidnapper. First, remind them of your human bodily functions. Fart real loud. If you don’t have a fart ready to go, you can ask for a glass of water or to go to the bathroom. Asking small favors in general is good. Request some reading material or a snack. That may sound odd, but it's all in the name of making you look less like a piece of meat, and more like the flesh and blood human that you are. Psychologically, it makes it harder for them to pull the trigger.

You don’t want to freak out and start screaming and crying, but you also shouldn’t try to play it too tough. It shouldn’t seem like you’re rebelling against your kidnappers but don’t be quiet and submissive either. Yes, it's a fine line, but it's an important one.



Also, put on a shirt. It's just good manners.

Just keep talking. Talk about your friends and family who might be expecting you. Talk about your favorite TV show. Talk about ... whatever. If you go through a broad range of topics, you might hit one that resonates with the kidnapper. Maybe your kidnapper is a huge Jimmy Buffet fan and could never hurt another parrot head.

It’s hard to know what will strike a chord with people. Serial killer Edmund Kemper claims to have once released a victim who saw a bottle of pills in his car and commented that her father took the same ones. A woman who claims Ted Bundy picked her up and released her during his killing spree said she became nervous during the car ride and couldn’t stop talking. Eventually he told her it was her lucky day, stopped the car, and let her go.

If A Loved One Is Kidnapped, Make Sure They're Actually Kidnapped

There’s a reason hostage negotiators always ask for proof of life, and it’s not what you think. The longer a kidnapping goes on, the more likely you are to survive it. The kidnapper doesn’t want to kill you; that would be stupid. You’re their product, and without you they don’t get paid. It’s like you're OxiClean and the kidnapper is Billy Mays. Billy Mays would never kill OxiClean. He might kick it around a little bit to prove a point, but without it he has nothing to sell.

If you’re a criminal interested in kidnapping people, but the actual kidnapping part sounds too messy and complicated, you might just pretend to have kidnapped someone. Specifically someone who is already being held hostage by another kidnapper. That sounds like conspiracy theory levels of crazy, right? But it's actually a thing that happens all the time: people claiming that they're the actual kidnappers, in an attempt to steal the ransom money.



"No, it's totally me ... Chad Kidnapper. That's what they call me."

Or, if you’re an even lazier criminal, you can pretend to kidnap someone who hasn’t been kidnapped at all. Recently, the FBI has been warning parents about “virtual kidnaping” scams. In these cases, a terrible person will cyber-stalk a family, and then after obtaining information about them (usually through social media), they’ll call the family and pretend to have kidnapped a family member they know is not home.

Then they’ll try to pressure the family into quickly paying a relatively low ransom for the safe return of their child ... who, in reality, is just sitting in their school classroom or at a friend’s house.

In cases like this, the best thing to do is stall until you can determine the location of the “kidnapped” person. This isn’t a complicated scam, and it’s usually pretty easy to determine the safety of the person who has supposedly been kidnapped.

Like this article? Check out "4 WTF Ways You Can Get Murdered Around The World" and "5 Rogue Heroes Who Scammed The Scammers".

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