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Force goes online dating to tackle sextortion

14 February 2018

Did you match with us? Dorset Police has been online dating for the past 24 hours to raise awareness of sextortion.

The Force utilised Valentine’s Day, a peak time in the online dating community, to launch a profile to provide safety information for those most at risk of the newly emerging crime.

Almost 150 men aged 18-34 within the Dorset area interacted with Amanda, 26, from Wool throughout the campaign, which went live on Tinder and Bumble, although the latter took just minutes to remove the profile for breach of use, and Tinder less than a day. 

The online account was made up of four bold emoji-based slides and an entertaining biography which were based on messages around the risks of sextortion.

Jake Moore, Cyber Crime Prevention Officer for Dorset Police, said part of the challenge in modern day policing is to find new ways to effectively communicate with the people the Force serves. He said: “We understand it’s an edgy campaign but it needed to be to hit our target audience. It’s an absolute credit to Bumble and Tinder they noticed and removed our fake profile so quickly. We hope they would be equally as vigilant in identifying people responsible for sextortion or other scams.”

In cases of sextortion, fraudsters will launch a fake dating profile and make friends with a target’s contacts on social media for the purposes of extorting money by threatening to send intimate web-cam footage to the victim’s family, colleagues and friends. On some occasions, the footage has been edited to suggest the victim has been engaged in illegal activity.

Dorset PCC Martyn Underhill added: “This campaign is a fantastic example of forward-thinking policing. In an online age, people are at risk of being exploited in new ways and it is vital that policing is innovative in its response in order to keep people safe.”

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