Scammers will often use emotions like love and fear to get money from victims online. Romance Scams are very common on social media, and while sometimes they go on for a long time and the victim develops a relationship with the scammer behind a "Catfish profile," other times the interaction is brief, explicit, and turns into a Sextortion Scam. Beware of sending anything explicit to anyone you meet online. They could be used to extort you.
Scams This Week 4/19/22
April 19, 2022
Photo Scams: A scammer will create a fake profile and reach out via social media or dating platforms.After some conversation, they will request intimate photos. They may even provide intimate photos, but you can be sure those are not who you are actually chatting with.
Once you send the photos, then comes the blackmail. The profile is now stating that unless you pay up they will send the pictures out to your family and friends. Even if you do pay, they will want more money. If you don't continue to meet their demands they will continue to threaten to send the pictures out to family and friends. Even when victims of this scam pay, these scammers have been known to send the pictures out to family and friends anyway.
Recently investigators received a report from an 18-year-old who was contacted by someone on Instagram and started chatting. The user, later identified as a scammer, moved the conversation off of Instagram and onto and a site called Telegram which is one of the sites scammers often use. Scammers will do this to get away from more regulated apps or sites that may flag inappropriate communication. The 18-year-old exchanged pictures and then videos of them performing a sexual act. Once it was sent, the male victim received an immediate message stating if they didn’t want their family and friends to see the video, they had to send the scammer 4000.00. The involved party never had any face-to-face or real-time interactions with the person running the fake profile. All communication was done over messages.
We all know once photos are out on the internet or sent digitally, they are out there forever. So DON'T send pictures that you do not want your family to see, especially to someone you have never met.
- Don’t share sensitive information, photos, or videos. The person you’re communicating with may not be who they say they are. Even if they do fit the description, you don’t know their true intentions. Despite any conversations you have had with them, they are still a stranger. Don’t show them anything or share anything you wouldn’t want in the hands of a complete stranger.
- Call the police. Extortion is a crime. While the suspect may make threats or claims that you’re going to get in trouble, ultimately they are the one committing a crime.
Law Enforcement Scams: Many times scammers will look through news articles or police department websites and find the name of a real officer and pretend to be them. In a sextortion scam, the scammer may first catfish the victim online, then pretend to be a member of law enforcement and contact them about the online interaction they had.
Recently an adult male scam victim reported that he was communicating with a female profile on social media. During the interaction, the profile sent a scantily clad image to the male. The male did not send anything back so the scammer took this approach instead. The male received a call from someone claiming to be a Boise Police Captain to inform the male that he had been communicating with an "underage female" and received an explicit image from her. The "Captain" was offering to help the male pay off the family using a peer-to-peer payment program. The money would supposedly be used for counseling and no charges would be filed as long as he paid. The name being used by the scammer was a real Boise Police Captain, but as we've said in the past:
- The police will NEVER call to tell you you've committed a crime and ask for payment to resolve it. That would be a bribe.
- Gift Cards, Bitcoin, or any Peer to Peer payments are not accepted by government agencies.
- Don’t let anyone pressure you. Hang up and call your local police department.