Back in August the agency warned about a computer virus that could take a computer hostage by rendering it inoperable until the victim makes an online payment.
An FBI agent tells CBS 5 the agency has seen about a dozen reports in Arizona where suspects prey on vulnerable victims.
Using their personal information and sexy pictures, the suspect tries to embarrass and blackmail them.
On a variety of sites from and Craigslist to Christian Mingle and Adult Friend Finder, a lonely heart is the initial target.
Victims were later sent a link to a website where those conversations were posted, along with photos, their phone numbers, and claims that they were “cheaters.” In order to have that information removed, victims were told they could make a payment—but there is no indication that the other side of the bargain was upheld.
While the FBI and other federal partners work some of these cases—in particular those with a large number of victims or large dollar losses and/or those involving organized criminal groups—many are investigated by local and state authorities.