According to the Broward Sheriff’s Office, there is a new online scam that is affecting many in Online Daters in the Fort Lauderdale area. What is “sextortion”? Online daters are targeted by scammers trying to extort the victim into paying money for crimes they aren’t committing, posing as law enforcement and accusing the victims of executing internet crimes against minors.
It begins with the suspect first posing as an online dater who is interested in the victim. The suspect builds a relationship with the victim, forming a rapport with them. The conversation leads to the suspect requesting sexually explicit photos. Once the victim sends the photos, the suspect states that they are an officer, and that the photos were actually sent to a minor.
Once this is revealed, the suspect informs the victim that an arrest will be made, and that there will be a federal warrant, unless the victim pays a fine via Western Union or a money order. This fine ranges from $500 to $1,500. Fearing public shame of being outed for a crime they did really commit, over 100 victims have fallen for the scam since March.
Sextortion is not the only online scam like this. A lot of people have been victim to similar scams. For instance, people will identify themselves as United States Custom and Border Patrol agents to victims who are trying to buy medications over the internet. The suspect, once again, extorts the victim into paying a fine in order to avoid being prosecuted.