HOLTS SUMMIT, Mo. (KMIZ)
A dating app scam has been brought to the Holts Summit Police Department's attention after the scammer called the victims using a phone number that appeared to be associated with the police department.
Two victims reported that they had received private messages from a fake account that went under the name of "Stephanie," the police department said in a Facebook post. The account asked for the victims' personal phone numbers. Both victims exchanged numbers with the fake account, and they both reported they received the same sexually explicit photograph, according to Holts Summit PD.
Shortly after the image was received, the victims were contacted by an unknown man named "David" who claimed to be Stephanie's father. The man told the two victims that "Stephanie" was underage, and demanded that they pay for a new laptop, police said.
The man allegedly told the victims that if they did not cooperate he would report them to the police. The victims received phone calls from a number that appeared to be associated with the police department.
"Oftentimes law enforcement agency names and/or phone numbers are used as a front for various types of scams; such as jury duty scams, warrant arrest scams, and now apparently online dating scams," the police department said.
The Better Business Bureau says don't share personal information with someone you just met, including phone number, address, or email, until you meet or trust the person.
The agency recommends researching people on dating apps. One of the key signs it may be a scam is if the profile picture is from a stolen profile. "Do a reverse image search of the person's picture to make sure it isn't being used under a different name or on multiple profiles," the organization says.
Holt Summits Interim Chief of Police Brandon Ruediger says, "One of the biggest concerns with all online apps; or any other online social media, is the fact you do not truly know who is on the other side."
Ruediger said that it's not uncommon, or hard for scammers to alter the Caller ID "What I will say is that while technology often makes our lives easier, it can also be a crutch and make the business of criminal enterprise much easier as well."