FBI warns of online dating extortion scam; dozen cases in AZ - CBS 5 - KPHO

FBI warns of online dating extortion scam; dozen cases in AZ

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Online dating scams are nothing new, but the FBI says the most recent racket is a little different.

An FBI agent tells CBS 5 the agency has seen about a dozen reports in Arizona where suspects prey on vulnerable victims. Using their personal information and sexy pictures, the suspect tries to embarrass and  blackmail them.  

On a variety of sites from Match.com and Craigslist to Christian Mingle and Adult Friend Finder, a lonely heart is the initial target.

Once an online conversation is established, which usually becomes sexual in nature, phone numbers and private pictures are exchanged.   

Later the victim receives a text with a link to a website that can show their picture, name, number and private exchanges. The site claims they're a cheater.

The con artist then targets the victim's wallet, demanding $99 to remove the shameful page.

The victim is promised that if payment is made, likely through money transfer services like Western Union, the site would disappear within an hour.

The FBI says the reports they have don't show those sites were ever removed. They say tracking suspects down is tricky, and it usually involves other jurisdictions. 

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