Warning from police: scammers solicit nude photos for blackmail
FARGO—Authorities say a number of people are getting blackmailed after sending nude photos of themselves to fake Facebook accounts.
Officials say it's a growing problem: Fake Facebook accounts disguised as single women asking locals to send them nude photos.
"They're from out of the area, you don't know them, they only have one mutual friend," said Kittson County Sheriff, Steve Porter.
Once they have the pictures, scammers threaten to post them online unless the victim sends money.
In a Facebook video, the Sheriff in Kittson County said they know of at least two people in town who fell for this scam.
"Most of the time, it's not the person you see the picture of. It's some guy sitting in some country, not even on U.S. soil that's trying to get your information, " said Sheriff Porter.
He's not wrong: In Cambodia, more than 200 Chinese people were arrested for carrying out the same nude photo scam.
Police in Cass and Clay county said they have no reports of it happening here.
They did point out sending nude photos at any age is against the law in North Dakota.
It could even land you a felony charge.
Cybersecurity experts said the best way to keep these sensitive pictures from getting into the wrong hands is by not taking them at all.
NDSU's Jeremy Straub tells us awareness is the best way to fight ghostly online perpetrators.
"If we can get the word out, we can stop people from falling victim to the scam, that's typically the best outcome, " said Straub.
One of his students, Michael Gibbons, said sending nude pictures has become a cultural norm in the younger generation, but he stays far away from it.
"Not something that I think I'd touch with a ten-foot pole," said Gibbons.
After digging into the nuts and bolts of social media tech, he knows anything that goes online could appear anywhere.
"People think that sending something over Snapchat, it gets deleted. But it doesn't. It's somewhere," said Gibbons.
As the modern mantra goes, once it's out there, it's out there.
The Kittson County chief deputy said they're visiting classrooms to teach young adults about the dangers of these social media scams.