Man arrested for sexual extortion phishing scams on Snapchat

Hague police officer
A police officer in The Hague. Sept. 11, 2015DutchlightDepositPhotosDeposit Photos

An 18-year-old Vlaardingen man was arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of trying to extort sexual favors from over 20 victims using the popular messaging app Snapchat, police confirmed on Thursday.

The man was arrested on charges of phishing, hacking and extortion of a sexual nature after he tried to trick Snapchat users into clicking on a link, which would supposedly give insights about the spread of Covid-19 in the area, according to police. When clicked, the link would immediately prompt users to log in again using their Snapchat account, allowing the suspect to steal their login credentials.

This practice would often be followed by "sextortion," in which the man would threaten to distribute private photos of the victim in exchange for money or bitcoin, the police said. He had also demanded sexually compromising photos of his victims in exchange for returning control of their account. Over 20 victims have fallen for the man's scheme, all of whom come from Noord-Holland.

"Some of them are known to be deeply affected by this type of crime. The criminal investigation department is satisfied with this development in the investigation and is working hard on the case," wrote the police in a statement. None of them paid the extortion demand, police said.

The suspect has been placed behind bars while an investigation into the matter goes underway, the police confirmed. His arraignment hearing is scheduled for Friday.