Five prison inmates and 10 civilians from South Carolina have been charged with extortion after it was discovered they were blackmailing members of the US military. An additional 250 people are also being investigated in relation to the scheme.
The inmates used smuggled mobile phones to pose as women online to interact and share nude images with the service members.
They would then act as the girl’s father or a police officer and demand money from the victim by claiming the girl was underage.
442 members of the military sent more than $560,000 to the scammers out of fear that they might be arrested or fired for being in possession of child pornography.
However, a spokesperson for the US Naval Criminal Investigative Service said the victims would not be disciplined because they did not commit any crimes.
A recent episode of BBC Panorma looked into the world of online dating fraud and found that many scammers will pretend to be in the military to avoid meeting with the singles they’re targeting. Dan Winchester, co-founder of Scamalytics, has been speaking on talkRADIO about the documentary.
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