Live 5 Scambusters: ‘Sextortion’ scams target online dating apps

Live 5 Scambusters: 'Sextortion' scams target online dating apps

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - As the world of online dating continues to grow, it's becoming a new feeding ground for scammers.

About one in five people begin relationships through an online dating app.

Almost half of those online daters have lied on their profile, according to a report from the Pew Research Center.

Capt. Roger Antonio with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office says detectives have worked cases where people are scammed through these online relationships.

He said it usually starts with the exchange of pictures.

"He thinks he is exchanging photos with a girl he thinks is legal age," Antonio said. "Then a guy comes on and says, 'This is my daughter and she's only 15 years old.'"

Suddenly, the victim of this sextortion scam is being told to pay up or face legal action.

Antonio says the caller, pretending to be an angry father, may threaten to turn the victim in to police.

In some cases, the scammer wants money for charges wracked up due to messages between the victim and the "daughter."

Antonio says victims will often pay out of fear, even though they likely did nothing wrong.

"There may not even be a young lady on the other line," Antonio said. "It could just be your scam artist which I'm almost willing to be is the case."

These sextortion scams often go unreported because the victim is afraid he or she has done something illegal.

If you think you've been a victim of this scam or others, you can email Kyle Jordan at Scams@live5news.com.

Copyright 2018 WCSC. All rights reserved.