Scammers have targeted websites from Ebay to Craigslist over the years. But some new scammers are targeting dating sites and impersonating Broward Sheriff’s Office deputies to pull off the scheme centered on sexting.
Major Don Peterson is one of a handful of deputies who have been caught up in the scam. Tuesday morning, Major Peterson got a call from a victim asking him why he was “blackmailing” the caller with naked pictures.
“It was a shock,” Major Peterson said. “Disappointed and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t upset by it.”
The scam has one person take a sexually explicit picture and then send it to the other person. The other person, a scammer, then claims to be a deputy and orders them to pay up to avoid any charges. In some cases, the scammers posing as deputies said the pictures were sent to a minor to put more pressure on the victim.
So far, more than a hundred victims have fallen for the sexual scheme from across South Florida and the nation.
“They think they’re committing with me as far as making the payment,” Major Peterson said. “They don’t want to be exposed, so they try to play along and mitigate by just paying it.”
The scammers charge people between $500 and $1,500. Deputies say it’s another reminder to think twice before sending anything online because this type of crime happens to people all over the state every day.