Sex extortion ring run on WhatsApp broken up; Seven arrested
The police arrested seven men in December for extorting people with sex ads on WhatsApp, the police announced on Tuesday. THe suspects posted sex ads, to which their victims responded on the messaging app. But instead of making an appointment with a sex worker, the victims were informed that their families will be told about their activities if they did not pay an amount of money.
After an initial payment, the suspects only demanded more money. According to the police, some of the victims paid over 1,000 euros to the scammers. The suspects obtained information about their victims' family and friends through "poorly protected" social media profiles. The police launched an investigation after one of the victims came to a police station in September last year.
The seven suspects are between the ages of 16 and 22 years old. They were arrested in Delft and The Hague in December, though the police only released a statement on Tuesday.
The investigators believe that dozens of people fell victim to these suspects. They therefore released several tips on how to protect yourself against these types of suspects.
Firstly block strangers from seeing your social media profiles. This can be done by adjusting the security settings on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. "Ensure that strangers can not see your photos and personal information", the police writes. Also don't accept frend requests from people you don't know and regularly check that your security settings are still what they should be.
The police call on anyone who fell victim to these suspects to come forward and file a report.