DELAWARE COUNTY, Ohio (WCMH) — A new scam is making the rounds in Delaware County, aimed at social media users.
“This is a new one. We haven’t really seen this type of scam before,” said Sgt. Dereck Keller with the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office.
The sheriff’s office said scammers are pulling photos and other public information from Facebook, Twitter and Instragram pages, finding phone numbers connected to those profiles, and scaring victims into paying for their own safety.
“They say that they are going to cause serious physical harm to the folks if they don’t pay them money, and then they send gruesome photos basically scaring them,” said Sgt. Keller. “Kind of blackmailing them if you will, to pay money.”
And according to the sheriff’s office, it’s worked at least once.
“Actually, there was some money lost. And that’s why we’re investigating it.”
If you receive one of these messages, Sgt. Keller says you should not respond. But don’t delete it.
“We definitely want you to keep the evidence, to keep the text string, the phone number, that type of information is important for our investigation,” said Sgt. Keller. “We would like for folks to block the number. Block the number, and then contact us, and we’ll be more than happy to investigate it.”
Sgt. Keller says the sheriff’s office is actively investigating reports of this scam to the fullest, but it appears to be coming from out of country, on a burner phone or a spoofed phone number. That’s why he says it’s so important to make sure you don’t respond or interact and call authorities instead.