Yesterday I wrote about police in South Carolina warning people about a scam involving the dating app, Plenty Of Fish. Plenty of Fish, which has been around since 2003 is a popular online dating site used by about 3.5 million people every day. According to police, scammers initiated the scam by using the Plenty of Fish app to establish contact and then send nude photos of a young woman, thought by police to be around eighteen years old. The next day, the person who received the nude photo would get a phone call from someone posing as a police detective informing the person who received the photo that there was a warrant for his arrest on child pornography charges. Shortly thereafter, the targeted victim received a second phone call. This one was from someone purporting to be the father of the young girl asking for $1,200 to drop the charges. The call from the phony police detective may have looked legitimate because through a technique called “spoofing,” a call can be made that can trick your Caller ID into making the call appear as coming from the police when it actually is coming from a scammer.
Today, I want to update you about the scam. As new information has become available it appears that other dating sites and social media were also used to perpetrate the scam, which largely targeted military personnel. According to an investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, the scam was perpetrated by a group of prisoners already doing time in a South Carolina prison using smartphones from within the prison. More than 250 more people on the outside of the prison may also be involved in the scam as accomplices and the investigation continues. To date, five individuals have been arrested and another fifteen have been indicted in regard to the scam.
You can report a Plenty of Fish user to the company on the web (POF.com) by clicking on the Report User link at the very bottom of their profile page. The text says “Report User”. You can report a user via the iPhone or Android apps by clicking “Report User” on the drop down menu (accessed via the menu symbol at top right of the screen) when viewing the profile you wish to report. In regard to phone calls from people posing as police threatening you with arrest warrants for a variety of reasons, you can be pretty sure that these are always scams, however, if you have any questions, you should merely hang up the phone and call the real police department to determine that it was a scam.
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