Explicit pics, extortion attempt, lead to word of warning for online dating world

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EDMOND, Okla. – Man meets woman online. Woman asks man to send explicit pictures. Man sends explicit pictures. Woman attempts to get man to pay hundreds of dollars in gift cards or pictures will be posted.

As country music singer Johnny Lee sang, “I was lookin’ for love in all the wrong places” for the 1980 movie “Urban Cowboy,” the hit song seems to be an applicable lesson for a University of Central Oklahoma Broncho.

According to court filings, university police started an investigation last month after a student contacted police, saying he was the victim of an attempted extortion scheme.

The student said he was on a casual dating app, called Joyride, where he met a person with a profile name of “Jessica.” A search warrant affidavit for the man’s email account said the person behind the Jessica persona later asked the man to send explicit pictures of himself, which he did. However, ten minutes later, the man told police “Jessica” demanded she be paid $300 in iTunes gift cards or the pictures would be posted online.

The case one of a number of recent cases involving dating apps and victims. Last year, men were lured to an Oklahoma City home and robbed after chatting with a person they met on the dating app, Grindr.

The man, according to the search warrant affidavit, was startled that the person he was talking to was able to figure out he was a UCO student.

“It surprises me still that people aren’t as wary about how much public information they share,” said social media expert Mike Koehler, who runs his own digital marketing company, Smirk New Media.

Koehler said people must be wary, whether on a dating app or regular old social media, as your posts, pictures and pieces of personal information can be used against you.

“But some people are still believing that something’s too good to be true,” Koehler said. “Whether that’s somebody who says there’s a million dollar check waiting for you, or some gal who says she has interest in having a date with you.”

The university said police have closed the case as no money was exchanged and no pictures were posted. However, it should be a warning to all, as should another B-side track on the “Urban Cowboy” soundtrack: the Eagles’ “Lyin’ Eyes.”

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