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Skype Sex Scam Snares Men in Blackmail Plot

By - Source: Tom's Guide US | B 15 comments
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If a lusty young Italian lady offers to show you a good time on Skype, you may want to seek out other means of entertainment. Italian police have received a number of complaints about women who sexually entertain men on Skype for free, then claim to be underage and demand hush money.

The IDG news service reported the story, which indicates that the incidents may be related. The Italian police have investigated 11 complaints and determined that four women are behind all of them. The women may be tied to a single male orchestrator elsewhere in Europe.

MORE: 13 Security and Privacy Tips for the Truly Paranoid

The scam begins on Facebook, Badoo or Chatroulette, where the women pick out their targets and develop friendships with them. Over time, the conversation and behavior become more and more sexual, until the women invite the men onto Skype for some fun of a more personal nature.

After the Skype shenanigans, the scammers get in touch with their victims again, and claim to be under 18. They then threaten to make the Skype videos public unless their targets cough up compensation to the tune of 500 euros ($693).

Interestingly, the victims do not appear to have anything in common. The scammers have targeted men of all ages and from all walks of life. The only thing that matters to them appears to be whether the victim has 500 euros to cover up a potentially embarrassing — or even illegal — sex scandal.

It's worth pointing out that, in all likelihood, the scammers are not underage. If they were, they could get in considerable trouble themselves for performing sex acts for an audience. Furthermore, the age of consent in Italy is 14, not 18, for both sex and sexual performances.

A 17-year-old might be tough to differentiate from an 18-year-old, but a 13-year-old is usually not. Even on the off chance that the women were under 14, Italian law allows ignorance of a partner's age as a limited legal defense, unless the victim is under 10. A 13-year-old scammer could still win such a case, but not before a pitched legal battle; hardly worth a 500 euro payoff.

Furthermore, trying to extort money is a serious legal offense, which puts the scammers clearly on the wrong side of the law. The punishment for such cases ranges from 1000 euros ($1387) in fines to 10 years in prison.

Citizens of the rest of the world should take care as well: this method of blackmail is not limited to Italy. Police have reported similar cases from Singapore, England and New Zealand. Many more cases probably go unreported, since the embarrassed victims pay up instead of calling the authorities.

Still, the hassle hardly seems worth it. Thrill-seekers on Skype are probably better off with people they know — or professional actresses who request payment up-front.

Follow Marshall Honorof @marshallhonorofand on Google+. Follow us @tomsguide, on Facebook and on Google+.

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  • -2 Hide
    bmwman91 , March 12, 2014 9:34 AM
    Good grief. If you have to go into chat rooms to "get laid" then you probably need to log off for a bit. It might improve your prospects IRL.
  • 0 Hide
    de5_Roy , March 12, 2014 9:41 AM
    if it's too good to be true.... :ange: 
  • -9 Hide
    biohazrdfear , March 12, 2014 10:02 AM
    Wait, wait, wait...age 14? 14 years old? So you mean to tell me that you can have a 70 year old man bang a 14 year old? Disgusting. Unless I'm just being plain stupid.
  • Display all 15 comments.
  • -8 Hide
    biohazrdfear , March 12, 2014 10:02 AM
    Wait, wait, wait...age 14? 14 years old? So you mean to tell me that you can have a 70 year old man bang a 14 year old? Disgusting. Unless I'm just being plain stupid.
  • -7 Hide
    bustapr , March 12, 2014 10:13 AM
    I dont really know where to stand on this subject. If he thought the girl was over 18, then the guy got screwed over. But you cant really mistake anyone being as young as 14. just imagine "hey dude Im underaged, gimme money and I wont talk", "but... but... you said you were over 13!". I cant really feel sorry for someone like that.
  • 2 Hide
    acadia11 , March 12, 2014 11:12 AM
    "I'm moving to Italy"- Said Roman Polanski
  • 0 Hide
    Nilo BP , March 12, 2014 5:38 PM
    This must be the same caliber of guy that clicks those preposterous CONGRATULATIONS YOU ARE OUR 100000000th VISITOR YOU JUST WON AN IPAD banners.
  • 0 Hide
    hoofhearted , March 12, 2014 5:43 PM
    I don't get it. How would they prove that the intended victim even watched the video?
  • 1 Hide
    killerclick , March 12, 2014 10:36 PM
    Wait, wait, wait...age 14? 14 years old? So you mean to tell me that you can have a 70 year old man bang a 14 year old? Disgusting. Unless I'm just being plain stupid.
    Age of consent is 14 in a bunch of countries, including Austria, Germany and Italy. In Spain, Argentina, Japan and South Korea it's 13. In practice though, there are several ways to prosecute people who take advantage of someone's youth to have sex with them even if they're over the age of consent but younger than 18. It's not seen as a big problem.
  • 0 Hide
    virtualban , March 13, 2014 1:25 AM
    Why bother with these, when toons of the preferred gender and orientation are so good looking in online games all around... :p  :p People could consider themselves at the forefront of technology and early adopters of the future ('Surrogates' will happen in cyberspace, not with robots)
  • 0 Hide
    LePhuronn , March 13, 2014 3:13 AM
    Them: "I have your Skype name and will show everybody this video unless you pay me money". Me: "Oh really? Well I have YOUR Skype name and I'm gonna inform the police of your blackmail attempt" *screencap*. You have to be totally retarded if anything other than the former even crosses your mind.
  • 0 Hide
    Pailin , March 26, 2014 7:59 AM
    Sooo.... What this comes down to is now a "Free Sex Show"! Cheers for the tip Toms ~_^
  • 0 Hide
    Pailin , March 26, 2014 11:44 AM
    aaw, shame, News got too Hot!?, News link got taken down :,(Was also a very valid warning that may have saved a few people some rather uncomfortable time...
  • 0 Hide
    omid590 , April 4, 2014 3:13 AM
  • 0 Hide
    omid590 , April 4, 2014 3:14 AM
    hello i love you
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