Police seek cyber predator

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Modeling scam: Teen girl lured into sexting that led to blackmail

By Tris DeRoma

Los Alamos Police are actively trying to find the true identity of a person who tried to blackmail a 13-year-old Los Alamos girl over some nude photos she sent to the suspect.

According to Officer Oliver McCartney, LAPD subpoenaed Internet giant Yahoo to see if there is a real name and address attached to a Yahoo email address the suspect allegedly used.

“We’ve been monitoring things since the crime occurred, but unfortunately, the Internet allows you to be anyone you want to be,” McCartney said. McCartney noted there was a female identity attached to the instant messaging Kik identity. “We’re waiting to see if there was any name attached to the email, but it could be from anybody, anywhere in the world,” McCartney said.

It all started when the girl started using an instant messaging application called Kik to text her friends with. At some point, she befriended a stranger who she thought was another girl.

The suspect then started to flatter her, telling the victim she could be a model. Eventually, the suspect persuaded the victim to send “her” nude pictures of herself, even though the victim told “her” she was only 13-years-old. The victim complied.

According to McCartney, this all happened during a session that went from the night of Oct. 3 into the morning hours of Oct. 4.

“This unknown person asked the juvenile if she wanted to become a model and the juvenile was at first hesitant, but then ended up agreeing to send different poses of herself that the unknown person requested,” McCartney said. “She thought this person was being true and honest.”

But then, after the pictures were sent, the victim started having second thoughts about what she did, and that’s when things turned ugly.

According to McCartney, the suspect(s) then threatened the victim that if she didn’t keep doing what “she” wanted, the suspect would send the nude pictures to all her friends and family in Los Alamos and post them on the Internet

That’s when the victim called police.

“By the time we got there, she was still talking to the suspect via the application,” said McCartney. “What it came down to was that the suspect wanted the victim to buy her a $50 iTunes gift card.

In return for the iTunes card, the suspect told her she wouldn’t share the pictures with anybody, said McCartney.

“It turns out that this was some type of scheme to get money out of somebody,” McCartney said.

McCartney said that unfortunately, he’s seen this before and that teenagers seem to be especially vulnerable to this type of scam.

“It’s an unfortunate case, but people, especially teenagers need to be conscious of what they’re doing online and what they’re sending out, because once you post a picture, there’s no way you can get it back, and you are at the mercy of the person you sent it too,” McCartney said.

The victim is apparently doing fine, and police had her delete the Kik App from her iPad, effectively ending all communication with the suspect. So far, none of the nude pictures of the girl have surfaced online, McCartney said.