Police report increase in ‘sextortion’ scams locally

LOGAN — Police are warning citizens of a new scam where people are being blackmailed after engaging in sexual behavior with strangers on the web. The scam has been given the nickname, “sextortion.”

Logan City Police Capt. Tyson Budge said in one case, a man was contacted through a social media or dating web site by a woman. She started sexting with him over the web, but then threatened to post their sexual behavior on social media sites, if he didn’t give her money.

“He started to receive the message, ‘my daughter was an underage person and I’m going to call the police if you don’t send us a certain amount of money,’” explained Budge. “The victim paid it but then received another message that said, ‘I’m the lawyer for these people and if you don’t pay us more money than we are going to go to the police.’ That is when he decided to come in and get some help.”

The demanded amounts have ranged between a couple hundred dollars, up to several thousand. Most of the money was sent overseas and is hard to track.

Budge said people need to be careful online no matter what you are doing, and always question who you are communicating with.

“You should always assume that you are being recorded and that it is going to be retained somewhere if you are sending pictures or video, or even doing it over a web-camera. Just assume that the other person is recording this.”

Budge said as embarrassing as it may be for the victims, they need to talk to their family or police and don’t pay the blackmailers.

“It doesn’t get better by just paying these people off, they don’t go away. Once you pay them, they are going to come back for more money or they’ll start harassing, saying ‘I’m going to ruin your life, you might as well go kill yourself’. It is getting that serious,” warned Budge.

Officers have tracked some of the scams to addresses in the United States. In those cases, they are working with other jurisdictions to try and find the criminals involved.

<hr /><p style=”text-align: center;”>will@cvradio.com

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