There was a story on the Daily Beast’s website today about sextortion and the – in my opinion at least – complete incompetence shown by the law enforcement person in charge of the investigation. Here’s the sad thing about it. Nothing in the article surprised us. I was in contact with the reporter thoughout the writing process, and at one point she asked me what we would have done if we were in the sheriff’s position. Basically, everything we said we’d do was met with “he didn’t do that”. It’s not the first time it’s happened though. Several years ago I was interviewed for a program on the BBC called Crimewatch. Before filming, I sent them two short videos I use to explain to the media in advance how the scams work from a technical point of view. We’ve said time and again that the scammers aren’t “live” in front of the camera and use prerecorded footage. The policeman was convinced the scams were being done by females who actually appear on webcam and had to be shown by the production team the videos I’d sent so he could see the truth and not make a fool of himself on the program. If they can’t even get such basics right, what hope do we stand? Back in 2016, the National Crime Agency had a campaign to warn people about sextortion. All well and good you’d think, but the wording of it was simply copy and pasted from other places. How do I know this? I recognised parts of it, and for good reason. They copied entire sentences from us for it, word for word! Now, don’t get me wrong here, some people in law enforcement know what they’re talking about and some have even directed people to us when they’ve been scammed. The problem is, they’re too few and far between. Yet, if we’d said “the sheriff didn’t even follow any of the basics when it came to dealing with the scam”, people wouldn’t have believed us. Here, finally, is proof of just how bad it can be and what the consequences are.
The article in question can be found at https://www.thedailybeast.com/sextortion-killed-their-son-cops-looked-the-other-way