Photo Extortion Scam Reported In Wisconsin
If you are a student or have a kid in a Wisconsin university, take note. A police department in Wisconsin is warning of a scam targeting college-aged kids. Considering this is happening in Wisconsin, it could happen anywhere, including in Minnesota.
This scam was reported by the police department and security services department for the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. They warned locals on their Facebook page earlier this month about the scam, which could also hit other universities in Wisconsin.
They referred to the scam as a "thirst trap trap" that begins completely on social media. It could happen on any of the popular apps, including Snapchat, Instagram or Facebook. It could also happen on dating apps like Tinder and Bumble.
The scammers pose as a student from the University of Wisconsin - Stevens Point. According to this post, their profile looks legitimate. Because the college is big, those that get the friend request or something of that nature don't know that it isn't a real person on the other end of the profile, making them more susceptible to the scam.
From there, the scammer strikes up a relationship with the person who accepts this fake online persona. Shortly after this relationship begins, they ask if you want to exchange personal photos. We all know how this nightmare begins: you send intimate photos and they are held over your head for money.
Yup, scammers get these photos from you and say that if you don't fork over cash, whether from Venmo or another cash-transfer app, they will send the photos to others or post them online. If the scammer also sent you photos, they are likely fake.
The post ends with a cautionary warning: please use caution before sending photos like this, especially over the internet. The police department for the university says they deal with this very often and want to caution students to avoid becoming victims of something like this, which is a scary and horrifying thing to have to deal with.
As always, if you are scammed or almost scammed, reach out to the local police department in your area or university. It goes without saying but err on the side of caution when striking up an online relationship with someone. You could be catfished or blackmailed, which is worse.