Detective talks social media scam targeting young adults in Four Corners
SAN JUAN COUNTY, N.M. – “What’s happening in these cases, kids are sending sensitive images and the extorter immediately comes back and says, ‘Hey, now that I have this, you’re going to send me money, or I am going to send this to all your friends and family,’” said Christopher Blea a Detective from Violent Crimes for Farmington Police Department.
Blea is describing financial sextortion where scammers are targeting young people in the four corners. It’s a warning for everyone, especially young adult males.
Detectives say because of the kind of scam this is, victims seem to be embarrassed to talk about it.
“When we go and talk to the families about this, number one, the parents don’t know about it. And a lot of times, even though we know this is happening because we’ve seen the chat logs, we’ve seen the images that have been sent, they still deny it,” said Blea.
Since the victims are not coming forward, you’re probably wondering how these cases are brought to light – well it’s the social media sites themselves.
“The social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, TikTok they have artificial intelligence in bedded in them, and they look for this sextortion on their platforms, and when they find it happening they report it,” said Blea.
The best way to avoid sextortion is having open conversations about the topic. And always remember, not everyone you meet online is real.
“Parents have to talk to their kids, that’s the bottom line. Parents have to know this is going on, their children need to know this is going on. If you don’t know them in real life, there should be some heavy vetting going on to see if this is a real person,” said Blea.