Hernando Sheriff Warns of Internet ‘Sextortion’ Scam
The ages of those targeted varies, with the youngest being only 13 years old, according to the Hernando County sheriff.
HERNANDO COUNTY – Sheriff Al Nienhuis is warning citizens of sextortion scams taking place on the internet.
Since Oct. 17, Hernando County Sheriff’s detectives have investigated seven cases of Hernando residents complaining of sextortion, threats, fraud, and/or sexual abuse over the internet.
The cases involve an individual who alleges to be a very attractive female. The individual (suspect) sends photos of “herself” to the victim over the internet in a chatroom or a messenger application, usually Facebook messenger. After conversing for a time, a video chat is begun. The suspect then convinces the victim to perform various sex acts on video.
Almost immediately, the suspect cuts off the video and demands money from the victim (to be sent in the form of gift cards to an anonymous address in a Western African nation. If the money is not paid, the suspect threatens to share the video with the victim’s family and friends, listed on Facebook. In some cases, video has been shared.
The age range of the victims varies, with the youngest being only 13 years old. Detectives said they fear that teens or young adults may consider self-harm if they are frightened by the threat, afraid to speak to a responsible adult, embarrassed by the incident, think that they really need to pay to “make it go away” and do not have the means, etc.
It is important to note that the suspect in these cases can be posing as a male or a female. Any contact with a person you do not know personally should be avoided, deputies said.
If you feel you have been a victim of this type of crime, contact Detective Tom Breedlove at (352) 754-6830.
Hernando Sheriff | Crime | Sextortion | Tampabay News
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