Porn scam targets locals

Porn+scam+targets+locals

Kelsii Kyto

After multiple email scams

have been reported in Marquette, the NMU Police Department (NMUPD) is warning residents to practice caution when

interacting with people online.

The current scam is a sextortion scam, NMUPD Det. Lt.

Guy Laplante said. Sextortion

is extortion, or obtaining something through the use of force or

threats, with the addition of pornographic images, he said.

Scammers hack websites, steal
victims’ passwords and send
emails to the victims making
them aware that their password
was exposed.

“They say ‘Hey, I can expose
to all of your contacts that you
were looking at pornographic

images on the internet,’” Laplante said. “They’ll split the screen

and put your face on one half
and the pornographic image
you’re supposed to be looking at
on the other half, which is bogus.
It’s not true,” Laplante said.

The loophole to “save” victims from being exposed is victims paying the scammer various

amounts of money to stop the
blackmail, he added.
Three citizens of Marquette

were victimized by the sextortion scam in the time frame of

a week, he said. The money that
victims lost ranged from $540 to
$3,400.

“Imagine if the person doing
this sextortion hacks 15 people
and three bite, Laplante said.
“That’s a pretty good day if
somebody pays off out of three.
The next day only two bite,
they’re still making money.”

NMUPD reached out to the
FBI, because most of the scams

originate offshore, he said, adding, it’s not hard to find the origination.

“You can tell when the writing and grammar is not done

very well. There’s words missing,

proper pronunciation is scattered, much like you’d hear from

someone who has broken English,” Laplante said.

“It’s hollow, there’s no substance to it other than that they

have your password. That’s the
hook.”

Local police rarely are able to
obtain a warrant for extortion,
and do not have the resources to
go overseas and make an arrest,
Laplante said. The FBI compiles
complaints together, and once
they find there’s something that’s

spreading, they can try to counter hack the hackers and stop the

scams, he added.

Because there’s no way to retrieve lost funds after the scam,

it’s important to educate people
so that they can take preventive
and precautionary measures,
Laplante said.

“If it doesn’t feel right, if

it doesn’t sound right, chances are it’s not going to be

credible,” Laplante said.
People should research scams
because that goes a long way, he
said. Being aware helps people
protect their accounts as best as
they can.

“Law enforcement does not

solicit for money over the internet. We do not arrest people on

IRS warrants. That’s never happened,” Laplante added.

To prevent hacks, don’t write
passwords down anywhere,
change passwords every six to

nine months, and report fraudulent activity on credit cards immediately to the bank, Laplante

said.

“It’s sad, but it’s part of our society,” Laplante said.