Recently a 21 year old college student in France accepted a Facebook “friend request” by a beautiful, young woman or at least he thought the friend request came from a beautiful, young woman. Their relationship blossomed on line with frequent messages and photographs that they sent to each other for weeks. The tenor of the message became increasingly romantic and even erotic until finally, the college student agreed to his “friend’s” suggestion that they do stripteases for each other using their webcams. She suggested that he go first which he willingly did. She did not reciprocate. Instead, she, if indeed she was even a she, blackmailed him by sending him emails demanding payment of ransom or else the blackmailer would post the video taken of the striptease online as well as send it to the young man’s friends and family. The frightened victim paid three payments before he stopped and alerted the authorities who through their investigation believe that the blackmail scam is the work of scammers located in the Ivory Coast.
One would hope that the risk of “relationships” totally on line and even then without the use of Skype or webcams to see who you are really communicating with would have become more apparent after the embarrassing Manti Teo scam in which he was led to believe he had a relationship with a woman who he never met and he later found out never existed. Transmitting an erotic video is a dangerous thing to do even if you know the person to whom you are sending the video. The risk of it becoming public is great, which can occur merely by your lover being hacked. However, sending such a video to someone you have never met or even seen except in a photograph that you cannot verify is accurate is definitely risky business. This also serves as a reminder that accumulating as friends large numbers of people about whom you know nothing is dangerous. Be selective in friending people on Facebook.