Imagine receiving what you assume to be a harmless text only to find a grisly picture of an execution-style murder. Then, the sinister warning: “You’re next.” Even worse, what if a caller stated he knows where you are, and unless you pay up at once, he’ll come for you?
So far no one has been hurt by what Southampton Town police are calling a “scam,” although a chilly one.
“There have been several calls and texts using the same graphic photo or similar graphic photos depicting an execution-style murder,” the department said.
Scammers are using mobile apps to threaten and defraud users to send them specified amounts of money, investigators said.
It is neither new nor limited to the area.
Richmond, VA police experienced a similar extortion scam that involved social media apps back in 2017, as did Dodge City, KS the following year. The scammers often use Facebook to find photos of the target and their family and WhatsApp to initiate calls or text messaging. All the reported text messages and phone calls were written and spoken in Spanish.
“This scam so far has specifically targeted Hispanics — natural Spanish speakers — but it’s a crime of which everyone should be aware,” Dodge City police warned. There had been five instances there in May 2018, with police saying that callers may send videos of men and women being killed.
The department is warning the community to avoid sending any money to an unknown number or caller. Victims are urged to contact local police if and when encountering incidents like these.
A Brooklyn woman was arrested after using fake bills to purchase gift cards from a 7-Eleven in Westhampton, police said.
Kaylynn Dyer, 30, of Brooklyn, was arrested by Suffolk County police September 24 for separate charges, but was identified through a Crime Stoppers tip as being wanted on a counterfeit charge.
Dyer was turned over to Southampton Town police and charged with first-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, a felony.
She was processed at town police headquarters in Hampton Bays and held for arraignment.