Thursday, September 29, 2022

Don’t fall for this ‘blackmail scam.’ This one involves porn

The York-Poquoson Sheriff’s Office is warning residents about a sextortion scam that’s been occurring over the past few weeks.

YPSO posted to their Facebook page Monday saying a scammer had been calling residents  and asking for Bitcoin payments. If the individual did not pay, then the scammer would threaten to send a video of the individual watching porn to their friends and family.

The scam is mainly being done through phone calls but there have been some reports of email correspondence as well.

Shelley Ward, spokeswoman for YPSO, said there isn’t an accurate number of how many people have received the calls because of the way each report is entered into the system. She said there were “numerous,” and many instances probably weren’t even reported.

Many people responded on the sheriff’s office’s Facebook post saying they had also received a call or email with similar traits, some of whom said it involved personal details such as old passwords.

Sometimes the scammers might have an old password of an individual they can then use to scare the person into believing they have access to their personal information, Ward said.

She said if people haven’t been watching pornography, then they most likely would be able to recognize a scam.

Ward said the calls had started picking up in volume last week and there doesn’t seem to be a particular target audience. Normally these types of scams will target men, but people of all ages and genders have been receiving scam calls which is abnormal.

“We don’t have any theories as to why [the scammer] is doing this,” she said. “People are always trying to change to scam, depending on what’s going on around them.” 

According to the Federal Trade Commission, this is known as a “blackmail scam.” This happens when a scammer claims they know something embarrassing or personal about an individual and demands payments through cryptocurrency. These types of scammers will use high-pressure tactics to get the victim to pay money as quickly as possible.

When this happens, it’s not just a scam but it is also a criminal extortion attempt and can be reported to the police or to the FTC.

“We hate to see people getting scammed out of their hard earned money,” Ward said. “And every month, it’s something different.”

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Alexa Doironhttp://wydaily.com
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at alexa@localvoicemedia.com.

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