Eastside News

Police warn about online dating scam

Detectives with the Bellevue Police Department are warning people about dating apps and sites after one match turned into blackmail.
Police received a call from a man in Aberdeen who said he recently matched with a 22-year-old man who said he was from Bellevue through the dating site, Plenty of Fish.
Detectives said that after they shared photos, the 22-year-old then told the man he was underage. The man immediately deleted photos and blocked the match, only to receive a phone call from the "father" of his match a couple days later.

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The person claiming to be the 22-year-old's father threatened to call police, according to Seth Tyler with the Bellevue Police Department.
"They were implying that if payment was made that it would go away," Tyler said. "It's really just blackmail, essentially."
KIRO 7 called the "father's" phone number which went to the voicemail of a man in Tennessee. When detectives contacted the man, they said he was alarmed and worried he could get in trouble.
The victim "did nothing wrong," Tyler said. "They were on a website, they were talking to who they thought was an adult. They exchanged photos."
Tyler is confident there are other victims out there.
"For every person that does call police, there are nine or 10 that just want to make it go away," he said.
According to thedailyscam.com, a strikingly similar scam has involved Plenty of Fish nationally. There have been more than 500 cases reported since 2016, the website said.
"We've all seen these shows about catfish -- well, this is kind of that to the extreme," Tyler said.
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