Plenty of Fish (POF) is an online dating site that uniquely claims to have millions of users worldwide. From our perspective at TheDailyScam.com it has earned another unique claim as well. Since September 2016, more POF users have contacted us about the same “underage girl” (or boy) sext scam than all other scams we hear about. We have personally encouraged more than 400 men to contact the FBI about this scam --see below. In addition to POF, this scam has targeted men on Craigslist, MeetMe, OKCupid, SeekingArrangment.com, Adult Friend Finder and other apps. We hear from so many men targeted by this scam that we cannot keep this article updated fast enough with all the information we receive. If you know men using dating sites and services, warn them about this scam and share this link with them. [UPDATED 1/28/18, including new voice messages and this scam targeting a guy on Craigslist.]
On June 21, 2017 we posted the another victim's story of this scam. After reading this article, read:
Your Worst Nightmare: Sexting a Minor... Or So You Think!
NUMBER OF PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN TARGETED & CONTACTED
US ABOUT THIS SCAM SINCE SEPTEMBER, 2016:
-- 458 --
IS THERE A NEW SHERIFF IN TOWN?
LISTEN TO THIS SCAM SHERIFF
TRY TO SCARE A VICTIM INTO
CALLING THE FATHER TO SETTLE!
[UPDATED NOTE FROM TDS 1/28/18: Most men have now informed us that the calls from the father and daughter most often come from a South Carolina number. A number of men have also been told to wire money to women of different names in South Carolina. For more than a year there appeared to be two separate criminals responsible for the majority of these scams. We believed that one of them lives in Texas and the other is in South Carolina. However, the man in South Carolina is responsible for most of these scams. He is African-American, likely between the ages of 25 - 35 years old and has, on rare occasions, had a woman help him. It is also possible that he works in a warehouse or similar place and uses a forklift at work. We also believe he reads this article and monitors the information we post! During the last few months this criminal also deletes the fake daughter profile very soon after he makes contact with his next victim. In the months of November and December, 2017 this criminal tricked 13% of his victims into sending him money.
However, since late December, 2017 through late January, 2018 we believe that there are some new criminals involved in this scam. We say this primarily because of the voice messages victims have recently sent to us. We don't believe we've heard these men before. An example is the "new sheriff" link above and these 3 voice messages sent to us by a victim who was targeted on OKCupid on January 26 by a woman's profile saying she was 20 years old and named "Brittnie." Do you recognize this man? If so, please contact the FBI.
Message from "Dad" using the name "Matt Davis" and calling about his daughter, Brittnie (though the "detective" asked our victim if he was talking to "Lily Davis":
Message 2 from "Matt Davis":
Message 3 from "Matt Davis":
The victim was first contacted by a man claiming to be Sergeant Chad Barrel from a neighboring town's police department. The victim called the real police department number and determined that no such police officer existed and no one had called him from there.
Here is an example from one young man who wished to remain anonymous….
I was on the app Plenty of Fish (POF) and "matched" and sent a message to a girl with the username "starfish3824". I received a response about an hour later stating that she did not get on the app very much but that if I gave her my number she would text me. I gave her my number and told her to text me.
I receive a text about 2 hours after I sent my number with a picture of a girl holding a dog saying that her name is Jess. She asked for my name and age, which I found weird since I mentioned my name on my initial app message and age was on my profile. She asked for a face pic which I sent, she then went on to say that I was cute and had good looking lips and asked if she could place her genitals in my mouth. In the spur of the moment I asked to see it, to which she sent a picture and asked for one in return. I claimed to be somewhere public and could not send anything back, she then kept sending other photos of whom seemed to be the same girl but I noticed backgrounds seemed to change although claiming to be in her same room.
Stupidly, I said whatever and sent a picture in return to which I received a text reply complimenting. Did not hear from "her" again. This morning, morning after the texts were exchanged, I get a phone call from a "detective johnson" from a number with my same area code claiming he'd gotten a disturbing call about texting an underage girl and exchanging photos, saying I could get sent to prison for 30 years unless I could resolve it with the father whom he claimed was willing to work with me before taking further action. I was given the number 843-274-8997 for a 'James Davis' to resolve this. I called Mr Davis and wherever he was was very noisy, could barely hear him, he claimed to be at work and he'd call me during his break. We hung up, I decided to Google the number only to find in the site 800notes.com that the number for Mr Davis has been reported many times for this particular scam. I then decided to look up the "detectives" number at this site: https://phonenumber.cmcm.com/ , and it was flagged for harassment.
[TDS Note: On Nov. 21, 2016 we heard from another young man targeted by this scammer who ALSO identified himself as "James Davis" and used the number 843-274-8997. A "Detective" also called the other man using the number 510-790-6800.]
Lucky for me, I was not able to hear "Mr davis" during the first call that led to us hanging up and giving me the opportunity to lookup both numbers. I got a call later from Mr Davis, still in a noisy room after claiming he'd be going outside to call me, saying that his wife was wanting to turn in the phone and take action. At that point, I had calmed down knowing I really wasn't in any trouble after finding out about the scam, I could tell that Mr Davis was just fishing for me to try and offer to pay him off or something without saying it just repeating the same thing over and over. In the end, because of the noisy room, all I heard him say was something about not wanting to waste my time and hung up. I then preceded to send a text to Mr Davis letting him know that I was aware of the scam they were pulling off because I had searched both his and the detectives numbers.
These “underage sext” scams targeting men all follow a similar pattern according to the hundreds of men who have reported it to us.
- Very quickly after engaging in a conversation with a young woman (or man), who often says she is 18 or 19, the woman asks for the man’s phone number almost immediately so they can text. Often says that she doesn't really spend time on the dating app or doesn't like it.
- The young woman wants to exchange pictures via texting and it doesn’t take long before she sends a sext or asks for a sext. The initial photo exchange seems to be to acquire a photo of the man’s face, which gives her proof of engaging the man in a conversation. As this scam has evolved, the "girl" will sometimes say she is 2 or 3 weeks away from turning 18 (or 17 in states where the "age of consent" is lower) and then sends a sext. Many men think "why not" --afterall, she'll be 18 very soon. Sometimes the scammer will actually request a sext that includes the man’s face in the photo and use that photo to extort money directly as in “I know your name, address, Facebook profile, etc. I’m going to post this for the world to see if you don’t pay me $$.”
- Within a day to a few days after sexts are exchanged, the man receives a call from the girl’s “father” stating that his daughter is under 18 years of age, making the sext exchange illegal and threatening to take action. Sometimes he claims she is as young as 15.
- The father always claims some reason why this experience is costing him money. Some describe that the daughter needs therapy (typical cost is $1500) or hospital expenses when the girl tries to commit suicide; some say they need to replace or repair a smartphone or computer that were used to send/receive the sexts (typical cost of $1000). But often the “father” will agree to take $500 - $800. Often, the "father" says "sir" a lot, or "son" when he talks to his victim. Sometimes he seems be very respectful and on the victim's side but has to appease his angry wife, and other times the "father" is angry and trying to scare the hell out of the victim. Many victims report that the father can sound African-American even when the daughter is white, or he can sound very, very southern. Many men lately are reporting that the father and sheriff (see below) are really hard to understand.
- A “detective” or "Sheriff" is often used in the scam as leverage to pressure the man into doing the right thing or threatening to arrest him. These detectives/sheriffs often have a Texas or North Carolina number and southern accent. The most used name is "Detective Jim Perry" from the Greenville County Sheriff's Department in South Carolina. The scammer is actually impersonating the very REAL Detective Perry. The real Detective Perry has actually added the disclaimer on his voice mail (as of July 9) to say that if you are calling about a father talking to you about an underage sext you sent, it is a scam and to call your local police. The REAL Detective Perry did not call you about this. Here's what the FAKE Detective Perry sounded like on July 7, 2017:
However, in October, 2017, another young man who was targeted received a call from someone identifying himself as "Detective James Adam" calling on behalf of the parents of the girl. (This may be the scammer from South Carolina):
- Update Fall, 2017: More and more men have been reporting that these criminals somehow know a lot more information about them that they use to threaten the victim. For example, the criminals use the man's full name and address, or even names of his relatives and threaten to share or post the sext sent by the man. It seems clear to us that some of these criminals are using online services to look up the phone numbers of the men from whom they are trying to extort money.
RAISE YOUR AWARENESS ABOUT THESE OTHER SCAMS:
Online Dating Scams
Amazon Customer Support... NOT!
Cybercrime Investigation Against You
IRS Phone Scam
Learn how Steven got scammed out of $2500 while using Airbnb!
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Story from "Bob" (He asked to remain anonymous) sent to us on December 3, 2017. He tells it well why he got suspicious and thought it was a scam:
"I was browsing Craigslist's "Casual Encounters" section when I came across this ad (TDS has blurred the faces because we're certain they are innocent girls whose photos are stolen off the web.)
She is listed as age 18: "Hey Y'all my name is Katie and I just moved here from South Carolina for college I'm a cosmetology major currently attending Paul Mitchell, I love the beach and I absolutely love Italian food, I'm outgoing I'm spontaneous and very open minded I'm not looking for anything serious, something fun and casual with no strings attached I'm enjoying my youth and looking for someone to enjoy it with me, so if you're into that sort of thing leave me a message or your number if you want to speed up the process."
She has two photos, cute girl, so I emailed her with my number. I get a text message from her within 24 hours saying "Hey its Katie! From Craigslist." As soon as we started talking she asks me to send her a contact picture. I send one, and I ask the same of her; she sends me one. I was direct and asked what she was expecting from me: an online friend, a friend to hang out, or an intimate partner. She replies with "friends maybe more" and I replied, sure we can be friends! We started talking and she confesses to me that she is actually 17 and almost 18 in 2-3 weeks. I said that's fine. She also asks me if I like girls who... like other girls. I said that definitely not a problem and ask her if she was a lesbian. She says she is and has acquired a girlfriend (age 19) during the 2 months shes been in Fresno. After her and I got to know each other (she's visiting Fresno due to a death in the family, hobbies include: the outdoors, watching Netflix, studying for cosmetology), we strike up the topic of meeting up to hang out. I told her we can meet up at a park. She asks if she can bring her girlfriend so that she can feel safer. I said no problem. I asked her if she wanted to move up our meet-up date sooner, and asked which general area she was living in so I can find a meet-up location that was between us. She gave me the town she was in, which is about a 30 min drive. I told her that's a bit of driving, but she states she can drive and its not a problem for her. She tells me she is okay to meet up but has to text her girlfriend first to see if she's ready. I await her response and she responds with this message that was totally out of character for her (because up to this point, our conversation were purely platonic/non-sexual): I'm paraphrasing here from memory, "We're ready to go. But first, so we know we're not wasting our time, we want you to send us a picture of your cock *winkyface*" I was totally shocked. However, thinking "well she's practically 18 in 2 weeks" I sent her a picture of a random penis because at this point I'm a bit suspicious. She replies "nice, we're on our way". About 20 minutes later, I get one last text message from her phone (again, paraphrasing from memory) "Sir, this is Katie's father. I caught her trying to sneak out in our car... I took her phone and saw your conversation with her. I have all your chats saved. You have 5 minutes to explain yourself before I report this to the police. My daughter is underage and this is unacceptable." I immediately blocked the number without replying because my instincts told me this was a scam.
Probably 30 minutes later, I get a call from a local number, but I don't answer it. That was the end of it. [TDS NOTE: the local call was probably the local police department number that was spoofed by the scammer. There are apps that can make a call look like any number they want. This is easy and has been done dozens of times by these scammers.]
Some flags that made me suspect this was a scam:
1) Why would she confess she was 2 weeks from being 18? (especially she claimed to be looking for a friend)
2) Her out-of-character request for a cock photo just moments before going out to meet me
3) Father's text message (he was very polite, calling me sir, and more concerned with my behavior, as opposed to his own daughter's) [TDS NOTE: the scammer OFTEN calls the young men "sir" a lot!]
4) I had looked up the age of consent for South Carolina, which happens to be 16 (and it's 18 for California). So why would a father (and daughter) who have moved from SC to California, be so up-to-date with the age of consent laws upon arrival to a new state. You would think that, if he's living in S.C. where age of consent is 16, then moving to California where the age of consent is higher, 18, that it wouldn't matter to him.
Anyways, I searched online to see if this scam has been reported before and sure enough, I find it on your website (which I am now subscribed to!). Thanks for the work you guys are doing here!
Oh, one last IMPORTANT thing! This is almost the scary part that had me doubting myself that this was, indeed, a scam. So, I'm skeptical enough to know that you really can't trust everything you see on the internet, including social media. Therefore, although this "Katie" is talking to me and sending me (non-sexual) photos to "confirm it's really her, I know it could easily be fake photos "she" grabbed from online. That's why, with all my online encounters with people, I always ask to confirm themselves with a webcam or a quick selfie (with a requested pose). I request from her a quick selfie with her holding up 4 fingers. I didn't get a response from her for about 5-8 minutes and I replied by asking her to send it immediately. I finally got a response and she says that she apologizes for the delay due to her being in the restroom. Anyways, moments later I actually did receive a photo of her holding up 4 fingers!! Let me clarify though, this particular photo was not ideal. It wasn't truly clear, it was shot in the dark, indoors with very minimal lighting (this was sent at night-time). All I can see was a some-what blurry photo of a white girl (that resembled the actual girl from previous photos) holding up 4 fingers. I thought to myself, it was good enough, since I'd actually be seeing her soon anyways (in a public area). But yea.... pretty clever!"
Also, we heard from a man targeted by this scam recently and he sent us this voice message to post. The "father" describes himself as "Mr. Vereen" (daughter's name is Iris.) Despite what angry Mr. Vereen says in this voice message, the man who sent this tells us he never sent a sext to Iris or encouraged her in any way to send him a sext.
Here’s another story reported to us in early October, 2016….
I messaged a girl on POF who's profile indicated she was 29. The pics even looked like she was 29. She immediately sends pics via text and then asks for one in return. She then immediately starts talking about sex and sends me a nude pic and asks for one in return and then stops talking. The next morning I get this text from her "father": "You need to give me a call about these pictures and text messages in my 15 years old daughters phone my wife is on the way to file a report about this situation." At this point it was early in the AM and I was still groggy when I called back only to hear a man getting angry about it. I tried explaining that she never said she was underage but of course he's an angry father seeking revenge. His "wife" (most likely the subject in the photos) was on the way to the station to press charges. Then he has a change of heart and decides to talk her out of it. When he calls me back he tells me I should give him $1500.00 to pay for therapy for his daughter (the best therapy, of course, and that's a steal at $1500). When I tell him I don't have the money to pay him, he then tells me he'll "see me in court" and the phone goes silent with him waiting on me to give in and pay. I don't, I just hang up. I called a friend of mine who is a detective and asked him about the situation and he informs me it's a scam and I shouldn't worry about it. He said that as long as she didn't say she was 15 (which she never did, all indications said she was 29) that they can't prosecute you for that. I'm assuming they leave the "I'm 15" part out because 99% of men would immediately stop talking to someone that young.
This scam is horrifying in the fact that not everyone can rationally think through this type of thing and would believe them and either pay or kill themselves over the ensuing stress (I'm not gonna lie, it kind of got to me at first). The number that called was +1 (803) 467-2752 from South Carolina. The man had an Hispanic accent.
In every instance, these scams have caused significant emotional strain to the victims. One young man contacted us with this story and was so upset and shaken for about two weeks that he would not let us publish what happened to him, even if we posted it anonymously. It really set him over the edge, impacting his sleep, and his ability to function day to day. Not only do these scammers not care about the victims they target but they turn up the pressure on purpose hoping that to motivate their victims to pay.
Here is another email from a POF user who was targeted by this scam….
I was also on POF (Plenty Of Fish) a girl emailed me, I believe the profile stated she was in her 20's as my preferences are set that way, just saying she would like to text she is turning her computer off and gave me her number. After a few messages she said she was bored so I said she was more than welcome to come over, assuming it would be turned down. The response I received was I am only 17. At this point a stated I was not interested and stated I knew nothing about her. By this time her POF profile had been deleted. A few more messages went back and forth of her asking to come over and me saying no before a nude photo was sent supposedly of her, cut off at the neck. she proceeded to say how I am her type of guy, and I kept stating that she knows nothing about me and I know nothing about her other than that she is 17 turning 18 next month. She proceeded to tell me she lives in Tennessee and I live in Raleigh North Carolina. I never revived a name, she said she worked at a KFC. Eventually she coaxed me into sending a nude photo. After this she said she was upset at her mom and had to get out so she asked to come to my place I said no it is not going to happen, then she suggested meeting at a hotel she really wanted me, and I said no again. Eventually she get upset and said fine I will find some other d*ck. I replied I am sure you will, assuming it would be over at that point. The next night she starts up conversations again, sends another nude photo of only her vagina and asks to meet again. I said no and never heard back.
Today I received a Phone call from a number in Tennessee supposedly a detective David Dreer (unclear on the last name and i regrettably did not ask him to spell it for me). He stated my number was given to him along with a text message chain from the girl. He told me the father was going to bring in the phone on Monday (this was Friday evening) to press charges. He sated he wanted to get a feel for my character, and so forth. I told him look at the texts messages I stated several times I don't do things illegal I will not meet you until you are 18 (however I did send a nude photo). I told him if he just read the messages he would see that I was reluctant at every point of this conversation and I never intended on meeting this girl. after this conversation went on, it ended with me giving him permission to speak to the father.
About half an hour later the father called from the daughters number (supposedly from Tennessee but with a South Carolina number). He wanted to talk about things. he said he just bought the daughter this phone for an early birthday present, his wife is the one that wants to press charges, but she could not talk because she was so upset. He said he went to church he was part of the night watch and other things. Eventually he told me to compose a letter to his wife to read since he doesn't make the decisions, and text it to the number. I composed an apology letter and copied and pasted it into a text message, about 20 minutes later I received a phone call from the father once again. He stated he was scared for their safety, he paid 600 for the phone for his daughters birthday, and it was a new plan that would need 1000 to cancel the plan. after some back and forth he just made the proposition of $500 and they would not press charges. I asked him how I would pay since sending a check in the mail or paying though a bank would give me more of their information. He suggested western union, and a wire transfer through Walmart. I went along with this and verified if I sent him $500 the charges would not be filed. At this point I knew something was up and this was extortion. So I agreed I would do it and he asked me how soon. I told him I would do it on Monday. He stated he has an appointment with the Detective on Monday. I stated I know I would like to run this by the detective before I pay you to make sure you do not press charges. He then quickly stated I see you have made your decision in a threatening voice and hung up.
The stories are all the same and begin with the girl quickly moving the conversation off POF to texting. And then it doesn’t take long before a sext is sent or asked for. One thing seems very clear in all of these scams… The moment the guy sends a sext he provides the leverage to make this scam happen. Even if the girl sends a sext first, the guy cannot be held accountable.
Here is one more recent story from one of our readers…
Hello! My name is [REMOVED] and I just want to say thank God I found your article about the "Underage Girl Sext Scam" because I thought I was in a serious mess. Man, do I have quite the story for you guys..
So the other night at about 10pm I was on POF just scrolling through trying to start up a conversation when I was contacted by a girl with the username Stacie_101. I checked her profile and saw we had a lot of common interests and she had claimed to be 18. "Stacie" was very straight forward with a "Hey sexy". I thought (she) was very pretty and complimented her back. We didn't exchange many messages (approx 4-5) before she said she was about to get off and that I should text her. So we exchanged numbers and the first red flag was that the number was from Charleston, South Carolina though the profile read Colorado Springs.. Anyway we were texting back and forth, I had asked her what was keeping her up so late. She said she was lying down and had to get ready for work soon. At this time it was about 1am. Then she asked for a picture of me. Thinking, it was for a contact photo I sent one of my old Facebook profile pictures to her and asked for one in return. She sent me one and said "Just got out of bed to take this for you" this is when I started to get a little suspicious. The picture she had sent me was obviously edited in a collage with another picture and different pose as well. So we continued to talk for a while and out of nowhere she sends me a video of her masturbating. This is when I asked "Wait, you're not some cam girl or something are you?" She said no and that I had killed the mood. Dumb me believed her and apologized. Now being a sex driven 20 year old male I had asked if we could try it again and she almost immediately responded with another nude picture. Then she asked for some pictures (nudes) and she was very exact with what she wanted me to send her. She also wanted a video of me… [EXPLICIT LANGUAGE REMOVED BY TDS]. The next day at the end of work I'm with my platoon and we're getting ready to be released for the four day weekend and I receivet a long angry message from her "Father" off of the number she gave me. Here is what I received from him: "son you are in big trouble this is Stacie father and I'm going back to the station in a few minutes To take them all the information she only 16 son and my 7year old daughter seen your penis in this phone and took this to my wife and she call me from work son I have pictures video son have you lost your mine and my lawyer going to call your staff sergeant we know everything son you messing up my family son I bought plane ticket for them and son you messing up your career son and they going back to South Carolina for counselling and now I got to pay for this it's in your best interest to contact me because you will go to jail and arrest warrant for you"
Now the military takes sexual harrassment/assault very seriously. Even accusations can have overwhelming effects on a soldiers life. Such as ending his career in the Army and being thrown in jail. So I started to freak out in my head because I thought my life would be over. As soon as we had gotten released from formation I gave the man a call and who awnsered the phone surprised me very much. "Stacie" was supposedly a blonde haired, blue eyed, pale white girl. But the "father" on the other hand was of the African American ethnicity. So we talked and he said he was going to send both of his daughters to counseling and that his wife wanted to press charges against me but, he wanted to give me a chance and pay for half of the counseling which was $1500.00. Being a private in the Army we only make approx. $640 every bi-weekly paycheck. I told him that it would take me about a month to come up with all of that and he said "It would be in your best interest to come up with the money tonight. You have three hours" at this point my emotions had gone from scared to skeptical. So I started to pick at him, asking him certain questions. I asked if I could speak to his wife and apologize to which he replied "Nah son, she doesn't even want to talk to you" then I asked if I could apologize to his daughter. That's when he got very rude and defensive and tried to tell me she was on a plane to South Carolina for couseling and said "Youre really pissing me off boy, don't push your luck or I will push forward with this case". In my mind I had agreed to play his game and say I would go to the bank for a loan while he would send me the information to his local western union. Here is that information:
“kadajia gaddis South Carolina Is the sending information Im leaving to go to western union also so my wife sister can receive the money tomorrow A. High :Account number :7874037982750028 Route:0739-7218-1”
That's her brother bank account number This is obviously now a scam and I can see that from the article you have on your page. Thank you again for the information!
We continue to hear from many young men with similar stories to those posted above. Also, the criminals are targeting young men using Craigslist as well! Here's another report we received recently:
"I was contacted by someone on POF about looking for a friends with benefits relationship. She said her name was Heather. Her profile said she was 18 and ready to mingle. We chatted on the the app for a few and then she said that she was running out of data and asked me for my phone number. I gave it to her and that was it. Nothing. No response on the app or text until 4 days later. She started texting me. It was pretty harmless at first. She said that she just moved in with her dad because her mom got sick. She was looking for friends because she was from Georgia and now she was in Michigan. Then she asked if I could send a picture so I did and she sent one back. After that she didn't respond until the next morning. She asked what I was doing and I said that I was getting ready for work. She asked me to send a naughty picture, lol. I was stupid and I did, so dumb of me. I then got a flood of pictures. One of them actually being a picture of a Megan Rain the pornstar (sorry I'm just a guy) and that was when things got fishy. But I decided to play along to see what would happen. She then told me that she was 15 right now and in 2 weeks she would be turning 16 (legal age of consent in Michigan) I didn't respond to that. I was kinda freaked out that maybe I sent a picture to a teenager. So I keep ignoring her texts. Then I stumbled across this scam while searching to see it was a scam. After reading it, the whole thing sounded way to similar. I decide to google search her area code as well. It was from Tennessee not Georgia. This was Friday. Did not hear from her all weekend but waking up Monday and going to work. I got a text from a different number saying that this was her father and he and his wife would like to have a word with me. I didn't respond, just turned off the phone. I haven't turned it back on. If the cops show up at my door then i know if wasn't a scam but it sounds all to similar."
A young man name Matt sent us the following email:
"I believe I was a victim of the underage sexting scam I read about here. A girl with the profile jessjessa whose profile age was 19 contacted me on Plenty of Fish. It started hi how are you etc. Then asked for my number. Couple days went by and got a text from a South Carolina number claiming to be her. Started innocent with hi, hows your day. Asked for a pic and sent one in return. Then asked for a sexier pic which I avoided and I next received a topless pic of the girl. Then she asks again and sends me a genital pic. After a few more minutes I stopped getting a reply. Next day I have a voicemail claiming to be a private investigator hired by this girl's parents because she is 15. I spoke to this "investigator" and was then called by the "father" claiming his name is Mccray. He starts saying how he doesn't like the law and would rather settle it outside of charges even though his wife wants me locked up. He's going to take that chance for me because I seem like a good guy. He calls back from the same South Carolina number after "talking to his wife" and says if I pay for the phone being turned off then that will be the end of it. $600 total by Walmart to Walmart money transfer. The "investigator" claimed his name was James Anderson with ICS protection services."
Matt informs us that the "girl" was texting from 803-306-0480, the "investigator" called from 704-251-2227 and the "father" called from 803-944-8152.
Matt contacted us a few days later with these updates to the scam:
I received another message from the "father" today claiming that he had to put his daughter and wife in coping class and thinks I should help pay. I am ignoring any further contact from them. I also attempted to speak to ICS Protection Agency and verify this "investigator" but have yet to reach anyone by phone or get an email reply from this "company".
And a few days later...
Still being hassled by this group of scammers after not replying to any of their texts or calls. Get a new call today from 803-653-0381 claiming to be calling from the local sheriffs office (how they know which one it is I don't know) stating they are trying to contact me before proceeding with charges. There's no question it is a scam since I live in a small town and there is nobody that works there by the name given, plus why would the local sheriffs office call from a South Carolina number?
The following numbers and names have been reported to us since late 2016 and into 2017...
1. Chris reports both the girl and dad's number as (803) 459-2205; Sherriff Perry or Terry, something like that from South Carolina uses (843) 324-6851
2. Byron reports the phone numbers used were from North Carolina: 980-295-682[missing last digit] and 704-883-2996; the name of the girl's profile was trinajohnson123.
3. Erick reports the father's name is "James Davis" and has the number (843) 274-8997. Erick also reports that the "Detective" claims to be from the Fremont, CA police dept. and the ID on the phone matched the real number for the Fremont Police. However, phone numbers are easily spoofed.
4. "J" reported to us that the girl said she was 30 on PoF and then said 17 after sending sexts. The "father" wanted $1500 or said he would go to the police. They used the following phone numbers: 307-231-0458, 828-234-9038, and 307-215-8132
5. A young man reported on January 30 that the girl's profile in PoF as "Hope5860" and saying she was 20 but the dad saying she was 16. Hope claimed to be from Maryland but the number was an exchange from New Hampshire
6. "K" reports that he made contact with "Tiffany" on PoF saying she was 20. She soon sends sexts and next day dad calls to say she was 15. Wants K to send moneypack numbers from a CVS or Walgreens to him. Tiffany's phone number is 864-534-0890 and comes from Greenville SC. The police officer calls from 213-486-1000
7. Ken reported to us that he was targeted by this scam using 3 different telephone numbers... 803-466-6577 from South Carolina, 310-462-5584 from California, and 775-737-0492 from Las Vegas.
8. Josh told us he was targeted from the North Carolina number 843-858-4443
9. Shane told us that he got a call from the "Sherrif" and then the "step-father." He's told he has to pay for the girl's hospital bills because she tried to commit suicide. They used the phone numbers 803-529-1643 and 803-306-7922.
10. JJ tells us that he first connected with the "girl" using the app MeetMe. Payment was requested Walmart to Walmart. Scammer's number is 803-546-8477.
11. Another young man we'll identify as "J" was contacted by "KiizG" from New Haven, a girl named Kelsey. J also reported that the "father" called him from 336-383-0971. The father wanted $1500 sent to him through Walmart moneygram.
12. Mike reported being contacted by a girl named "Ashley" and then by her father, named "David" who said "When you get this message, you need to give me a call. If you don't call me in a reasonable amount of time, I'll take this to the Sheriff's office tomorrow and let them handle it." The father called from 828-242-1700.
13. Kris was on a web site called Skout and was contacted by a girl who said she was 18 but later saying 16. He got a call from the "dad" at 352-616-3255. Same old story.... the "dad" wanted Kris to pay for a smashed laptop and daughter's medical bills.
14. A man named Devin was recently using a dating app for Android called Jaumo. He sent us screenshots of a girl's profile identifying her as Brittney, 18 years old and quickly asking to move off the app and onto phones. Her number was 804-304-3919. She sent sexts and asked for some in return and the next day said she was really age 16. Not long after, Devin gets this text from her "dad" ...James Davis: “Look man I found this phone were you have been texting my 16 year old daughter Brittney. I am very disgusted by what I have seen and read you need to call me immediately.” Devin also got a call from a "Sargent Baker" from 920-395-3104 in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, claiming to be on the police force. Sargent Baker actually left this message for Devin:
15. Dan told us that he connected with 18 year old Ashley who later said she was age 15! Dan goes on to say that "he got a call from Ashley's dad stating the mom found her phone (910)474-3291 (Lumberton NC). Dad is irate saying he's sending her to counseling and a sex therapist but he doesn't know how he's gonna pay for it. Says wife wants to turn it over to the cops. He says coming to me man to man but he's not sure how he's gonna pay for therapy or what he's gonna do." The father called from (843) 648-9438.
16. Zach on April 6 said "I was on pof when a girl contacted me and told me to text her so I did Her profile said she was 18 then she text saying she was 16 then sent me nudes that I didn't ask for. The next day I get a text saying this is the girls father and that I'm in big trouble for child porn. He said his wife works in law enforcement and will track me down and have me arrested. But if I pay 300 dollars for 4 months we will be good and nothing will happen. The girls pictures was of a white girl but he sounded like a black male on the phone"
17. John emailed us on April 16 to say he met a girl named "Tasha" and her profile said she was 19, looked older but was later informed that she was "really" 17. Of course Tasha's "dad" calls John from (843) 453-5596 and saying that John stepped over the line with his underage daughter. Yada, yada, yada....
18. Arshen informs us that a profile on POF listed as "im_sexy84" with the name Kayla and 27 years old then comes back as a 16 year old looking for love. Of course the "dad" calls the next day to threaten jail time unless Arshen makes it right. Dad's number was 803-549-5519. He asks for money to pay for counseling and airfare.
19. A young man wants to remain anonymous told us he got nailed by the POF scammer via a profile that said she was 29 and then later identified herself as 16. He received calls from two different numbers, 843-617-7185, and 843-606-1819, the father and detective. Sadly, this young man paid the scammer $1250 for hospital bills incurred when the "daughter" cut her wrists.
20. Ian was targeted and the scammer asked him to send money through Western Union. This made Ian suspicious, so he informed the “dad” that he couldn't do that but he could send a check. The dad immediately shot it down and said he could send the money Walmart to Walmart. Ian knew it was a scam and actually went to the police. While talking to the police officer the scammer called! Ian handed the phone to the policeman. The call came from 803-486-5672 (Bishopville, SC) The "dad" hung up soon after talking with the real policeman!
21. Steven contacted us to say that a girl listed as "Jennifer" had her profile listed as 18 years old. Very quickly she informed him that she doesn't use POF much and would rather text. We hear this from MANY young men who are targeted by this scam. Finally, Jennifer informs him via text that she's 17 but will turn 18 in just a couple of weeks. We're hearing this "almost 18" crap from other young men as well. Once again, the "dad" called Steven from a North Carolina number: (910) 627-5690.
22. Joey received a message on POF from username Roxxypoping4u saying that she isn't often on POF and does he want to text. She offered the number +1 (254) 203-0600. He says the first picture she texts him was a sext. Next morning he gets a call from a "detective" saying the father wanted to speak to him. Father says "you have two choices either you get prosecuted and go to jail or you go to the nearest Walmart and pay for the medical bills." These scammers like using Walmart a lot to get their money!
23. Another young man said "I received a text from a woman on pof with the name jessib for her profile. She said that she was 18 years old and the message started with a simple hey there. As the conversation got deeper she moved to ask me if I would like to text her because she is not on pof all that much." Later, the girl (named Jessica Brown) said she was 17, almost 18. Next day the "Principal" of her school calls from 317-807-6271 to say he had to confiscate the phone and Jessica is 16 years old. Principal tells him to call the father, Nick Brown at 1-317-376-3132. Blah, blah, blah...
24. Another young man who is very scared was threated by the scammer by saying he was going to post his sext on Facebook to friends and family. The young man tells us that he at first paid the scammer nearly $1000 and then stopped payment. (He was asked to send payment via Paypal to someone named Amanda Hartis.) Via texting, the scammer said his name was Kenneth Williams but later said it was Mike Williams via Facebook Messenger. His "daughter's" name was given as Amanda. He used the phone numbers: (864) 541-3371 (his) and (843) 934-8224 (daughter), both South Carolina numbers.
25. A young man named John told us that this scammer contacted him using two Tennessee numbers: 615-939-4588 and 615-862-4410. The "father" claims his daughter is 17 and they had to destroy the phone or some nonsense. Wanted $1200 for a new phone and contract. Claims to live in Tennessee but wanted the money wired to North Carolina.
26. "B" just informed us of a POF profile that stated the woman was 34 years old and photo confirmed an adult photo. She quickly wanted to text and exchange pics. B gets a call next day someone at the "South Carolina law enforcement agency" Guy gives a BS excuse about having to get a new phone and wants our guy to pay $1000. None of it added up. Sheriff wanted money sent via Western Union. B used an app to trace back the numbers he was called from. In all, there were three. Names used where Jeremy Lee, David Burrows, and Zachery Chapman all from North Carolina. Calls all came from five different numbers: 864-431-9603, 843-941-4209, 843-941-9527, 843-244-1741, and 864-253-2680.
27. Casey informed us of a girl's POF profile listed as "kaylasofun" and saying she was 22. Her phone number was 865-316-8372 and she had just moved to Louisville, KY. A week later the angry dad calls identifying himself as Jeff Tory (wife is Pamela Tory) and his daughter is 16. Dad wants payment for the back glass door his daughter broke during their argument. Casey paid him $871 via Walmart and then the dad comes back to ask for more money for a damaged laptop. Payment was to be sent to Pamela Tory in Knoxville, TN.
28. A young man we'll call "Ned" told us he saw an ad on Craigslist to connect with a young woman listed as being 18+ and contact quickly turned to texting. They exchanged sexts and then "she" informed Ned that she was actually 16. You know what happens next. Father demands $3200 through Walmart to "make things right" but later says he'll accept $1200. The photo of the girl shows a caucasian girl but Ned spoke to both "mother" and "father" and each sounded African-American. Ned shares these numbers with us: 864-200-1882 (the "girl"), 980-244-0045 (the "father"), and 803-869-0112 (the "mother").
29. Chris told us about a girl named "Hadyden" on POF. Hayden sends sexts without Chris even asking. Next day "dad" calls and wants Chris to pay $340 for Chris to make it right. Chris informs us that 832-895-5272 is Hayden's number from Texas and her Dad's number is 864-238-2187.
30. Nick was contacted on POF by a girl identified as "Crystal Jones." Crystal asked for his phone number on POF and started texting him. She sent Nick sexts and then asked for some in return but he didn't send any. The next morning Nick gets a call from the father, "Mike Jones" asking for $1000 to cancel the phone contract and another $3oo for a plan ticket for his daughter. "Mike Jones" has a southern accent and left Nick this partial voice message:
31. A young man we'll call "William" sent us this recording of the "Father." He was contacted after connecting to a girl on the app "ChatHour." William tells us that the conversation ended shortly after he mentioned that what the father was doing sounded like extortion.
32. Another man, we'll call "B" sent us the following voicemail from "Detective Mike Johnson from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. B claims that Detective Johnson sounds just like the father named "Mike Jones" in Nick's information posted as #30 above. What do you think?
33. Here is yet another twist on this scam... We heard from a gay man we'll call "M" who used POF to contact another gay man named "Greg." Greg texted M from 864.923.0804. Brief exchange took place and a couple of private photos later Greg says he's got to charge his MacBook. Next morning M wakes up to four missed calls, a voicemail, and a super long text saying 'this is his father, his mother wants to call the cops, call me'. So M calls the father...."Kevin" at 682.300.0388 to figure out what's going on. His phone goes in and out but at one point he starts talking about money. M tells Kevin that he knows this is a scam and say's he's going to talk to the police and the "father" hangs up. But M gets a voicemail from a "Detective Brian Williamson, badge number 32W06" from (can't completely understand him) Roy County? The Detective is calling from 404.481.1550, a Georgia number. The Detective wants M to call him back at 803.620.1013, a South Carolina number. Instead, M called the Columbia Police Department and they said they don't even have detectives, they have investigators and said right off that this was a scam. Here are 2 voicemessage provided by M:
34. Here is a list of more names and phone numbers used by the scammers running this scam in late May/June, 2017:
35. Phone: 864-237-1451 Daughter: Stacy Donald Father: Michael Donald
36. Phone: 336-383-0971 Daughter: Kelsey PoF profile: Kizxgx
37. Phone: 828-407-6672 Daughter: Brittancy PoF profile: Brittany34SC
38. Phone: 816-305-9930 and 713-386-9579 PoF profile: Msprissy81
39. Phone: 8036699746 Father's name: Blake
40. Phone: 678-428-0193 Daughter's name via PoF: Stacy (Same photo used on OKCupid but daughter's name is Natasha)
41. Carl tells us that he was contacted by the father "James Green" who convinced him to send money via Wal Mart to Wal Mart transfer to a "Jamal Pearson" in South Carolina
42. Phone: Jenna at 704-614-2065 ; Man used the name of a Private investigator "John Keefe" at these numbers: 405-267-0295 and 318-233-3836. The man found the REAL investigator John Keefe and he had not been involved and didn't use the numbers the calls came from.
43. Phone: 724-707-5217 Daughter's name is Brandy (brandyluv) on YoCutie app; Father's name is Gregory and called from 843-992-7266. Wants money transfer via Walmart or CVS
44. Phone: 904-446-6709, 843-929-9247, 843-591-8871 Daughter: Nicole or Nikki Jones; Father was a very angry man with a Southern accent; wants $798 sent to a PayPal account using the email address email@example.com.
45. Matt informs us that his call appeared to come from the Cleveland Police Dept. number 216-621-1234. However, Matt called the police dept. and the dispatcher said that they can't even call out from that number and it would not show up on caller ID that way.
46. Andrew said that the father asked for $500 to be sent on a Green Dot Pay Card. Phone number was 919-901-7628
47. Phone: 803-220-6431; father wanted $800 to deactivate son's phone (Underage son, not daughter this time.)
48. Phone: 864-616-3893; "detective"called from Greenville, SC; the first calls were from Anderson, SC.; father had a southern accent
49. Quotes the father as saying "...you're going to fix this one way or another, I am going to try to calm my wife down and talk her out of wrecking your life SON" --He seemed to call me SON quite a bit. (Other men reporting this scam have said this often.) Numbers used by the scammer: 336-207-3195, 704-418-7263 and 843-471-4917
50. Phone: 843-424-4882; Daughter's name is "Katie"
51. Phone's used: 843-424-0572, 803-616-5575 Father says daughter tried to commit suicide and is in hospital; wants half of $7000 hospital bill
52. Daughter's name given as Ashley Jordan and POF profile was "askleyjordan18." Mother was called "Mrs. Kathy" Daughter sent sexts first; Dad asking $450 to terminate phone. Follow up call came from Texas number 469-677-8671 and a guy identifying himself as a Dallas Police Officer (southern accent).
53. From 904-872-9055, POF girl texts "I'm gonna be honest with u because I really like u right ill be 17 in 3 days but Im extremely mature and have the mindset and body of a grown woman" and right after "she" sends a sext. David, the father, calls next day asking for $2800 through Walmart to Walmart money transfer. Later guy gets called by a Sheriff telling him he better cooperate or he (the Sheriff) will be forced to arrest him. Sheriff calls from 561-899-7290.
54. In late June, three young men reported this scam targeting them through OKCupid dating site. Numbers used were 402-850-3099, 803-415-0291, 803-529-6757 and 276-690-9930. Girl's profile and names included meganboo3017, Miranda, and Ashlyn. Scam included a call from a private investigator named "Michael Lawson" and dad used the name "Jesse" and "Barry Johnson."
55. One man reported being targeted while using the website AshleyMadison.com from the phone numbers 702-373-8969 (Las Vegas) and a south Carolina number 843-372-4339.
56. Dave was scammed via ChatHour by a girl using the name Paige. He was contacted by someone claiming to be called Kieth Rich with the Eagle Eye Private Investigators out of North Carolina. Dave actually called this firm in N.C. and they said they had no one there named Kieth Rich. The investigator used phone # 980-295-2598 and the Girl's # 803-995-0249.
57. July 5, "S." reported to us that the father and girl used the phone number 803-616-5575 on 6/24/17. Then a detective called him using phone number 803-415-0043 on 6/30/17 The detective gave a quick name and Badge number that was barely understandable. Then came another call from a detective at 512-784-1408 (TX number) on 7/4/17 identifying himself as “Detective Williams with Sled.” Finally, S got a call on July 5 from 864-249-5821. A woman who called herself "Nichole Breck" (not sure about the last name), very southern style voice said she was from “South Carolina Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.” Said she received a call about the conversations with an Underage Girl name Jande, except thats not the same name as the girl S originally started speaking to.
58. Chris was targeted via Craigslist by a "girl" using the name Brittany Miles. The "Dad" was "Mike Miles" wanted money to replace the busted laptop. Dad used the number 803-808-0605 and Brittany used 717-433-7534. Dad had a deep southern accent.
59. Another young man was scammed via a site called Tagged.com from a girl using the name "Paige" and the number 803-800-4052. Later he hears from Michael McCloud (803-280-1271), claiming to be her father.
60. A young man from Texas met "Ashlyn Barnes" on OKCupid who turned into a 16 year old girl in this scam. Daughter and father, David Barnes, used 512-202-7814. Ashlyn asked for a sext and sent one first. Listen to David's angry voice. We believe that several of our recordings are the same man:
61. On July 20 we heard from a man who received a sext from a woman he met on PoF named Maria. Maria's father (Mr. Bradley?) called from 307-231-4693 and is demanding money for a laptop that was broken when the mother caught the daughter making a video for him. The man already paid $500 and is being shaken down for another $300 by the father, who has a very southern accent. Listen for yourself....
62. Just before Thanksgiving, 2017 we heard from a young man targeted by this scam. What seems to be different is that this man received several voice messages from a scammer pretending to be the "detective" on behalf of the family. But we think these are new voices, not heard before:
63. On December 11, 2017 a gay man contacted us about this scam. If you've been paying attention to this article, you'll easily recognize this scammer's voice as one of the primary criminals targeting men with this scam:
We hear from so many men about this scam that we cannot possibly publish all their stories. But this one is well worth your time to read. The writer explains WHY some of our victims report seeing a phone number that appears to be the phone number for a Police Department:
"I just realized I been a victim of a scam on a dating website called Plenty of Fish that cost me $2500. It started two nights ago when I received a message on that site through their app I downloaded on my phone. In the profile it was stated he is 26 years old. After we talked a bit on PoF, he wanted to start talking through text messaging due to him saying the app was killing his cell phone battery. I then gave him my number. We talked for roughly an hour. During that time I decided to send an "inappropriate" picture against my better judgement. Yesterday early afternoon when I woke up I noticed several missed phone calls from what seemed like the Pensacola Police Department according to a Google search. Also, there was a text message from that person's father asking why I was sending inappropriate pictures to his underage son. Of course, I freaked out when I saw that. I proceeded to return the phone call from Pensacola PD and explained the situation. They were not aware of what I was talking about. I then said I will contact that father. I called the father and of course he sounded very angry regardless of me saying his son did not state he was underage and the profile on PoF stated he is 26. He said he already contacted the investigators and his wife wants to put me behind bars but he is willing to compromise with me. He said if I send him $2500 for damages to his wife's computer due to this occurrence, I will not hear from him again. Of course being highly distraught due to stress I agreed. After we hung up, about 5 minutes later I received a phone call from the Pensacola PD number. I spoke to a sergeant and he was angry that he couldn't get ahold of me when he called numerous times earlier. He said I was lucky he got ahold of me when he called that moment that he was ready to get an arrest warrant against me. I told him that I spoke to the father and made an agreement. He said I better honor that agreement that I was lucky. He also said I better be truthful about speaking to the father and not be lying. He said he is going in to an important meeting and he will call me back in an hour and a half to find out if I honored that agreement. Two things that raised red flags for me are the call quality was not good and he sounded somewhat similar to the "father." I was way too distraught so I disregarded it. I ended up sending the money to a relative of the "father" via Walmart's money gram since I couldn't send it through CVS as originally planned due to a lot of money being involved. I told him I sent the money and he told me to take a picture of the receipt. After I sent the picture of the receipt I texted him if he will let his wife and the investigators know that the agreement was fullfilled. He did not answer right away. Of course, I decided to call the Pensacola PD to let the cop I spoke to know I fullfilled the father's request but they had no idea what I was talking about. At that point I was highly confused and started to feel really suspicious. Due to the embarrassment, I didn't let them know what occurred and said the officer stated he will call me back so I will just wait for his phone call. The officer never called me back. After I had my head cleared from what transpired, I did my research and found the article your website posted regarding this scam. I did not recall a story on this site regarding fake caller ID but I did do research on that as well and there is an app called Caller ID Fake and with that app you can call someone using whatever phone number you type down. The receiver of the phone call will see that number. In other words, the scammer used either that app or a similar app to call me and used the number of the Pensacola PD to make it seem legit. He used that likely due to the fact that I have the same area code as that PD, regardless of me currently living in central Florida. I'm way too embarrassed about this whole thing and from what I gathered online I more than likely will not receive my money back due to me sending the money with cash via money gram. Also, I am not completely out about my homosexuality. This whole scam cost me $2500. I am writing this because I want people to know that a caller ID can be posed. I did not know such an app exists but by the time I found out, the money was already sent and it was way too late. Another thing that I want to point out is the suppose "minor" and the suppose "father" had the area code of 803. South Carolina like it was stated on your article I read. This could be the same person that scammed the people in your article. As an insult to injury, around midnight the "father" messaged me back that inappropriate picture and said, "Don't forget this, sir." By then I knew he was a scammer, but decided not to reply back to him. I have a feeling he may try to get more money out of me later. I don't mind my story being posted but request my name not be used. I'm way too embarrassed to report this to the proper authorities but I want people to be aware of this scam especially the fact that they can pose the number of a police department using that fake caller ID app. I should have been more suspicious since when I called the PD they had no idea what I was talking about but when I received the call from that number it ended up being the scammer. I deleted my profile on PoF already and may change my phone number. Please let my story out but I request to be anonymous."
We received this story from a young man in early February, 2017. He tells it well...
I've had this same thing just happen to me literally over the last 24 hours. I am a guy, I started talking to a girl supposedly from Northern Kentucky on plenty of fish like any other time that and her profile said 21 with some college so I was interested, I thought well she seems decent ya know? Attractive girl going to college and all... Well she had eventually after an hour or two said hey what is your number and we can just text, so I seen no harm so I said sure gave her my number and then I get a text from her and we continue to talk off an on for the day ( I was at work so that's why it was over a day long process) but we eventually both exchange face pics and all.. And continue to talk and somehow managed to delete the first pic so I asked her to send a second one to save to her number in my contacts, and she asked if I would send one too, so jokingly I sent one with my shirt off, and then a couple more regrettable photos assuming that hey she is 21 well she eventually sends a 2 pics back both of her genitals and right after that saying she was 15 getting ready to turn 16 in December of 17!!! So naturally I freak out and i tell her no this can't happen I'm sorry this is done. Your profile said you were 21 so you lied and instantly I'm thinking of the consequences of going to prison for child pornography and deleted all of the pictures. Next day being today the 1st of February around lunch time at work I get a call from a gentleman named Thomas Coyer, the supposed father of the girl I recently just quit talking to. He says that he is her father and that he has already spoken to their family attorney and that he is going to send me to prison. So I start freaking out again and he tells me how his daughter got caught with the phone at school with the pictures and assaulted the teacher and a Panasonic projector got broken that cost $835.00 that he would have to pay for. And said that he would drop the whole thing if I would help him by giving him $600.00 to help him pay for the broken projector. So I told him I needed to figure out how to get the money and I would call him back later today. Well I eventually got off the phone with him and contacted a local attorney, and explained this whole exact thing to them and they stated how common this scam has become and mine sounded "textbook" for how they do these scams but to do his due diligence he said that they would talk a little more with the other lawyer as a just in case worse scenario option, just to be prepared ya know. But I digress, anyways about an hour later he must've have used my cell phone number attached to my facebook account and messaged me on there saying that I screwed him over and that he was going forward with pressing charges and all of this. He says he knows one of my high up supervisors and a bunch of crap about how he will see me in court for when I go to prison. Unfortunately I don't believe this is finished just yet so hopefully, this is just a textbook scam like all the others and I don't have that "worst case scenario plan" put into effect. I did change my cell phone number and unlinked my number from my account on facebook and also blocked his profile that when I looked at it was completely blank with no info or even a profile picture, which is kinda fishy if this isn't a scam. But I will update as the days go, I guess since I changed most contact info and blocked him on facebook he can't get a hold of me, haha. But this is definitely a long and can be a terrifying process to deal with being a younger man. I definitely deleted any dating apps I had, and I am going back to the old fashion, smart way of meeting dating from here on out not worth taking the chance or even just dealing with the extra stress of the slim possibility of being true. But have a good day everyone and hopefully this read is enlightening as the previous I read that helped relieve some of my stress. lol
We first posted our article about the Underage Girl Sext Scam in early September, 2015. By January, 2017 it had become one of the most read articles on our website, viewed nearly 25,000 times. And we have been notified of the scam by dozens of young men. It is clear that men are being targeted heavily by these criminals, especially users of POF.
UPDATED: March 1, 2017
Below is the letter sent to 48 men at the end of February, 2017 who have contacted TDS about this scam. We have encouraged ALL those scammed to contact the FBI!
Subject: U angry enough to get the sext scammers arrested?
You are one of 48 young men who contacted TheDailyScam.com in the last 9 weeks about the underage girl sext scam. That’s right, 48! Some of you paid the scammer and some realized it was a scam before sending money. All of you were really scared, upset and angry at being targeted. Imagine how many other men out there got scammed and didn’t report it to me. IT’S TIME TO STOP TO THESE BASTARDS AND I NEED YOUR HELP TO DO IT!
We all want these scammers caught but it means asking ALL of you to do something that is going to be uncomfortable. Here me out…
On February 23 I received another email from a young man who was really upset and embarrassed. He fell for the extortion and had just sent the scammer $800 and was supposed to send more next week. It made me so angry that I decided to call the FBI and spoke to an agent named John. I wanted to give the FBI as much information about this scam and the number of guys it had targeted. (…but not your names or contact information as I will always protect your privacy.) Though Agent John was sympathetic and agreed that this was a problem, he said that since I was not the victim there was nothing he could do. But, he said, if I could get the guys who were targeted to report it…
Agent John told me that all calls to your local FBI to report a cybercrime are routed to the same call center where Agent John works. Imagine if that call center gets nearly 50 calls on the SAME day reporting the SAME crime. This would get their attention! I’m on-my-knees asking each of you to do this! I know it will be uncomfortable. The call will be recorded. Many of you felt embarrassed and humiliated. Many of you sent a sext and felt that, just maybe, you could be prosecuted. I have good news for you! Agent John told me that if the girl’s profile identified her as over 18 then you can’t be found at fault. Every one of these apps will have records of the profiles that were set up showing what you told me. You all said that the girl’s profile said she was 19, 20, 21 or 22 years old! You did not sext a minor!
SO HERE’S THE PLAN…I’m asking you to take the next few days to gather any information you still have about being targeted. Emails, texts, screenshots, names, phone numbers, dates….anything! Write down everything you remember. Many of you told me that you looked up the phone number and learned that the number was located in North Carolina or another state. Many of you told me that it sounded like the caller was one race but the girl’s photo was another race. Write it all down. If you cannot remember all the details, contact me and ask me to send you back the emails you sent me when you reached out. (Yes, I’ve kept them all, and protected your identity unless you let me use your first name in our articles.)
On Wednesday, March 1st I’m asking all of you to call your nearest FBI office (https://www.fbi.gov/contact-us/field-offices) to report this crime. Be prepared to tell them everything starting with your name and phone number. Breathe! You’re going to be OK. We need to put these bastards behind bars and that means getting the attention of the FBI.
When you report this crime it’s really important to point out the following:
1. How did you first find the girl’s profile and what age did “she” list herself as. What app did you use? BE SURE TO TELL THEM IF YOU CONNECTED USING YOUR SMARTPHONE! (This is important for legal reasons)
2. Tell the FBI that your communication moved to texting, if that’s what happened. (This is also important for legal reasons)
3. Describe anything you remember about the voice of the father or the voice of the detective (if you spoke to the “detective” or “sherrif”) For example, was there an accent?
4. Tell YOUR story with as many details as possible.
MOST IMPORTANTLY…. If the agent says there is nothing he can do and tells you to report it to ic3.gov, remind the agent that this started as a cybercrime but then became extortion over the phone. Insist that he listen because others are calling to report the same crime! And then visit this site and report your crime again: https://www.ic3.gov/default.aspx
On March 20, 2017 TDS was contacted by a young man we'll call "Jake." Jake's story was not only similar to those of other young men and compelling, but well written too. Jake has a sense of humor and very observant, which you'll read in the way he tells his story about this scam...
A girl named Jolene messaged me on Plenty of Fish with a simple "Hey there :)", which is highly unusual because girls almost never message me first. Furthermore, on POF you get notifications for who views your profile, and despite messaging me she did not show up in my profile views which I found odd since you need to view someone's profile in order to message them. Anyway it was several hours after she sent the message that I saw it, so I replied with a message along the lines of "Sorry, my phone was lost, what's up?" Even though POF showed her as online when I sent it, it took her several days to reply, telling me she was almost never online and asking for my cell so we could text instead (also unusual, I'm typically the one giving girls my number and only when an actual conversation has developed, i.e. not right away upon contact).
We started texting, and she seemed to be super into me (again, unusual, I look like a cross between Bubba and Forrest and usually have to rely on my personality/ sense of humor to even have a chance, neither of which had come across to her yet). She sent me "good morning" texts, and after a few days they were accompanied by kiss emojis. We agreed to meet for pizza on a Wednesday at a restaurant midway between our towns (POF said she lived an hour away), but she cancelled on Wednesday morning because she was too busy and rescheduled for Friday. No biggie, I thought, although I was starting to get suspicious of her replies, which seemed almost robotic at times. She seemed to agree with everything I suggested, including having her drive an hour north to where I was on Friday instead of meeting in the middle (something I wouldn't even do for someone I hadn't met, and I'm the most desperate man on Earth).
Now, this is where it gets real fishy (no pun intended). On Thursday night, we're doing our usual text conversation. Out of the blue, she asks me if I'm not the judgmental type because she needs to tell me something important. I figure she's going to say something like "I have herpes" since her profile mentioned her liking sex a lot, or "I'm trying to cheat on my boyfriend." Instead, she tells me she is sixteen, almost seventeen instead of 20 like her profile says. If she had told me this right away, I would have immediately done the right thing and cut her off. But because it had been almost a week now, I was actually starting to develop feelings for her, plus I would've felt like the biggest jerk in the world if I judged her for being underage right after telling her I wasn't judgmental. "Maybe we can just hang out tomorrow," I thought to myself as I went to bed that night. "Nothing wrong with taking her mini golfing."
The next morning (Friday, the day of our planned date) she sends me the typical flirty morning text, then informs me that she is horny. I don't know how to respond, so I just say "Ooh" and she replies with a selfie of her in her underwear. Despite knowing deep down how wrong it was for me to be doing this, I continued the flirting by jokingly telling her that I hoped she wasn't an undercover cop. She then sends me a video of her playing with her boobs as proof she's legit. My sex instinct has kicked in now and completely taken over the rational part of my brain, and I tell her I may need to get a new pair of pants. She requests a d--- pic, [CONTENT REMOVED], so she sends me a close up picture of her vagina with two kiss emojis to help me. Immediately after taking and sending the picture, the rational part of my brain takes over again. I text her to delete the picture, and call the number numerous times when I don't get a response. I start freaking out because I think that her parents got control of the phone and will report my picture to the police, but eventually I get a reply from her telling me she was in the shower, is the only one who ever touches her phone, and enjoyed the picture. We go back to a semi normal conversation, until around 12:30 when she tells me she is leaving for my town and sends me a selfie with a car in the background.
I text and call her for hours after 1:30, no replies. Around 3 or 4 I gave up- it was too late to go mini golfing anyway, as I would miss dinner at home if I did that. I began worrying again, only this time I worried she was actually an undercover cop trying to sting me. I began furiously and frantically Googling to see if an undercover cop was allowed to send explicit material in a sting attempt, as well as what my possible defense could be if I was tried for child pornography (for possessing the sexts I was sent) or enticing a minor (for sending a sext myself). The possibility of this whole thing being a scam now dawned on me, and I stumbled upon this website which showed stories remarkably similar to mine. I talked to my brother, who told me to calm down because an undercover cop would have already been at our door by now, and my best friend, who advised me to delete all the texts and pictures I was sent and block the number.
The next day around noon, I check my phone (which is in my room charging) and see a bunch of texts plus a couple of missed calls from the number in question. The sender claims to be Jolene's father, and addresses me as "Mr (my last name)" while addressing himself as "Mr Miller," something I found plausible but still odd. (I was a bit concerned by his use of my last name which I never gave her, but apparently a simple Facebook search of my number will reveal my profile/ last name.) He told me my actions were unacceptable, and that I had ten minutes to contact him before he went to the police (by the time I checked my phone, this window had long passed). He also claimed that his daughter stole his wife's car and crashed it on the way to my town. I text back that I am sorry for my actions and will not contact her ever again, to which he replies "you need to be calling me right now." The odd grammatical structure, plus the fact that it was an out of state number (she claimed to have moved here from Detroit recently but it seems weird for someone to move from Detroit to the town she claimed to live in), plus the fact that Googling "car crash near (name of her town)" produced no results, led me to believe that it was indeed a scam. I blocked the number from texts and calls, figuring that if it wasn't a scam the father would find another way to contact me. It's been two days, and I've received nothing.
As crazy as it sounds, I'm actually somewhat grateful for the fact that I was scammed. My actions were stupid and irresponsible, and had they occurred with an actual underage girl I would be in serious legal trouble right now. Instead, I will be more careful in the future with who I talk to and what I send them.
On June 19, 2017 we posted the latest example of this scam. After reading this article, read:
Your Worst Nightmare: Sexting a Minor... Or So You Think!
Think you are being extorted by a real woman? Think again! Read Luke's story "Sextortion by Bot?"