Tag Archives: Scams

The Dangers of Sexting

How Sexting Can Ruin a Person's Life

Reporters talk about sexting on a regular basis, usually involving politicians and public figures. Regular people, including teens, also sext and may not understand the implications of their actions. People have ruined marriages and relationships all in the name of fun and games. Teenagers and daters are targets for identity thieves and scammers. Kids are targets for kidnappers and pedophiles. Parents want to protect their children, but that may not be enough. Children should be educated about the dangers of sexting and contacting strangers online.

What is Sexting?

Sexting involves two people exchanging intimate information through text messages. Predators ask their targets for nude pictures or sexually-themed messages. The predators convince the victims to send the messages to get or keep their attention. Statistics show that 1 in 7 teens routinely sends “sext” messages and 1 in 4 receives sext messages. Parents should discuss sexting with their children. The child should be encouraged to share if they are being pressured by anyone to send sexts. It’s common for a person to receive a message containing a nude photo or sexual suggestion. If that happens, the child should report it. The parent can use an iPhone app to find out who owns a phone number and then report it to the authorities.

Dating Sites

Adults might send sext messages to people they meet on dating sites. Many people using online dating sites tend to move very fast in forming relationships. Hackers engage targets who get caught up by the romance and ignore their instincts. Hackers can use the messages to gain valuable information or threaten to post the messages or pictures unless the victim pays. The scammer can sell the information to another who will use it for financial gain and cause the target grief and legal troubles for years to come.

 Sextortion

“Sextortion” is a form of extortion or blackmail. The victim exposes him or herself to another through sexually-related messages or photos. The recipient uses that information and posts – or threatens to post – the information online or send it to the victim’s contacts. As a result, people can be targets of “revenge porn,” a method wherein the victim has personal information or photos posted online by a former friend or lover who wants to get revenge. The act can cause fights, embarrassment, loss of a job or worse. School officials might punish teenagers, causing them to be expelled or denied access into colleges of their choice. People put themselves and their families at risk, including their careers and relationships. Photos posted on the Internet stay there forever. You can’t delete them or get them back.

Sexting carries legal issues since the person taking or sending the photo can receive fines or jail time for distributing pornography.

Protect Yourself

If someone asks you to start sexting, refuse. It will help you to avoid embarrassment, hacking, and possible legal problems. Avoid storing intimate photos and videos on your computer. A hacker will trick his victim and access the other person’s computer, posting private photos on social media sites.

Law Enforcement Phone Scams

Police Scams

Police officers warrant respect and obedience. Parents teach children to respect and obey the police. When a police officer calls and asks for a donation or informs you of an outstanding warrant, the impulse to comply is immediate. Unfortunately, the person calling may not be a member of law enforcement. The scammers posing as police, call and prey upon the victim’s fear. There are three common scams relating to law enforcement:

Bench Warrants

A bench warrant is a “go to jail, do not pass go” document. If you have a warrant against you, police will arrive at your door and cart you off to jail. The police do not call. Have you ever seen a cop show where the police ring up a dangerous felon?

Typically, the caller will order you to purchase a pre-paid card or arrange to send money via Western Union or MoneyGram. Don’t do it! If you suspect the call may be legitimate, call your local police station immediately.

Relative in Jail

Another common scam is the relative in jail scam. Senior citizens are usually the targets of this scam. The caller pretends to be a family member, saying he is in jail. The caller says a bondsman will be calling shortly. The target is expected to give out credit card information or to send money through Western Union or using a pre-paid card.

This is a scam. Like the kidnapping scheme, the target is not offered any proof that the story is true. The scammer plays upon the target’s fear that a family member is in distress. If you receive such a call, find out the name of the jail and call it directly. If a bondsman is required, meet him at his office or the jail.

Police Charity

Citizens may receive an annual phone call asking for donations to the policeman’s ball or to support the Fraternal Order of Police. Police do solicit funds for these and other charities, but will not ask for a credit card or wire transfer over the phone. If you receive this call, do your research and contact the organization directly for verification.

Detecting a Law Enforcement Phone Scam

It may be difficult to identify a false request asking for money, although it is not impossible. Scammers often use fake identities and use a spoofed caller ID to hide their real phone numbers. Scammers may be able to tap into phone numbers used by police to appear legitimate.

Ask for more information

If the caller asks for a donation, ask questions. Ask the representative for information about the organization. Callers should supply their full names and the organization’s legal name and address. You can require the caller to explain how donations are allocated. If the caller states that the request is coming from a specific chapter or precinct, call that location to verify before opening your wallet. Scammers faced with questions may be unable to give an answer, get defensive and hang up. You can also use an iPhone app to do a reverse look up a phone number to check if it’s related to scams.