DARTMOUTH – Dartmouth Police are reminding younger residents not to send inappropriate or compromising photos to strangers online amid a reported spike in extortion.
The news comes in an announcement posted to the department’s Facebook on Sunday. This police state has seen a recent increase in teenagers and young adults reporting cash demands from strangers on Instagram, Snapchat, and other apps.
« We’ve seen three of them in the last three weeks, » said Det. Kyle Costa, who posted the message on the department’s page. « And I know another local agency saw two in the same period. »
Costa called it an « online scam, » noting that the scheme has been around for a while and seems to be gaining ground again.
According to his post, the demands come after victims sent compromising photos — and in typical light-hearted style, the post asks, « What the heck happened to the courtship trial? »
According to the department, « all it takes is a scumbag with a fake profile asking someone for a picture of their junk, » and people can feel vulnerable.
In most of these cases, the department notes in the post, the scammers are never found.
Noting that parents « absolutely should be concerned, » Costa said while police are conducting investigations, it is also the responsibility of parents and guardians to monitor what their children are doing and explain the dangers of social media.
But he also tries to bring humor and personality to the posts, he said, because he wants people to spread the word.
« I try to make it fun because then I know it’s going to be shared, » Costa said.
The post states, « Your junk, no matter how much you filter it, pose it, magnify it, or dress it up in a bow tie, top hat, or bunny ears, IS NOT impressive. »
It ends by asking kids to use their minds when sending something personal over the internet.
The public service announcement currently has more than 330 likes and 150 shares on Facebook.
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