Friday 14 June 2024
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Nottinghamshire man duped on dating site sends warning to others

Tom had broken up with his girlfriend. It was a long-term relationship and the break-up had come unexpectedly.

He joined online dating site Tinder and within days matched with a woman the same age as him.

Tom, not his real name, was 25 and he loved the attention he was starting to get from this new match.

“I was in quite a low point in my life. I had found out my girlfriend had cheated on me, and I guess I was looking for some attention.

“I matched with a girl the same age as me. The conversation started normally – ‘where you from?’ ‘How long have you been single?’ ‘How was your day?’

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“What are you having for dinner?’ We were just getting to know each other.”

She appeared interested and the conversation had lasted a few days before the shift to another social media platform was suggested.

Tom accepted her Instagram request.

He said, on reflection, the ‘warning signs’ were there but he got carried away with how interested she was in him.

Her Instagram account had a number of followers, however, very few pictures of her.

In September 2023, the person he thought he was talking to shared intimate pictures of herself and encouraged him to do the same.

He said this wasn’t something he would usually do but he responded with two explicit pictures of himself.

At 10.30pm that night, he received a message demanding that £400 be paid or that these pictures would be shared with more than 500 of his followers.

These followers included his friends and family.

He then received a call via Instagram from a male who gave him a deadline.

“I was shocked initially,” he said. “Where is this coming from? I have never done anything to you. I managed to talk the man on the phone into £20 and paid. I thought anything to make it go away.

“I told him ‘I didn’t have lots of money in my account. It was a few days until pay day.”

The man accepted £20 but sent Tom a picture of an Instagram group he had set up. It included all of his contacts. He demanded that more money be paid otherwise the two images were going in this group.

“I was more worried about my family receiving them. My friends would understand but I didn’t want my family to see images like that. That was my main worry. I just kept thinking ‘how could I be so stupid?”

The man continued to send threats – some of the calls he received but never answered where in the early hours of the morning.

Tom decided to contact his mum and explained the situation. His mum told him to contact Nottinghamshire Police and he did.

Officers launched an investigation into the incident and safety advice was offered to Tom to prevent the criminal from further contacting him.

No more money was sent, and no pictures were ever sent to his friends and family.

“I am a lot more cautious now,” he said. “I never send anything like that anymore.

“I would say ‘check through their photos and make sure it all matches up.’ Check ‘who is following them’ and ‘who they are following’ on their social media accounts.

“I did not check that. Also, look at the likes on their pictures. Who are they from? How many have they got? Organise a video call with them beforehand.

“I want to warn other people about Sextortion, so they don’t go through what I did.”

•  Sextortion incidents rise six-fold in five years across Nottinghamshire

•  Sextortion: How criminals posing as women online targeted over 500 young men across Nottinghamshire

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