Since the fall, four University students have reported attempted or completed blackmail situations through a targeted social media scam. The culprits have been targeting males, pretending to seek an intimate online relationship with them through social media sites. Instead, they utilize screen recording capabilities to capture intimate images and videos without the students’ knowledge or consent. The scammers then send frequent communication attempting to blackmail the individual for considerable money.
Common scam tactics include
- The person will likely record someone doing something intimate or explicit without that person’s consent or knowledge.
- They will then attempt to blackmail by using threats to send the images or recordings to people at the University or use tactics to cause fear and intimidation to induce the individual to pay them. The scammer may try to force the individual to take immediate payment or threaten to send these images or videos. Likely they will repeat their request for payment even if they’ve already been sent money.
- A scammer may ask for nontraditional payment methods, such as gift cards, Bitcoin or CryptoCurrency, or via PayPal utilizing non-verified accounts.
DPS asks that all University community members review the full Guidance on Scams and Fraud for context on common scam strategies and ways to avoid becoming victims of such schemes.
Notify Public Safety if you have any questions or think you may have encountered this type of scam. In addition, international students and scholars who are concerned about a possible scam can contact the International Services Office and the Title IX Office to reach out about supportive measures.