EXTORTION: FBI warns of “mug shot” scam

June 19, 2013  by

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Mug shots are showing up on Internet websites where they’ve apparently been posted by extortionists, the FBI cautions.

Hundreds of complaints have been flowing into the agency’s Internet Crime Complaint Center from people who report that they were juveniles at the time of their arrests and that their records were sealed — and therefore not available to the public.

Others reported that the posted information was either incorrect or blatantly false.

“When victims requested that the photos be removed from the sites, they were asked to provide copies of their driver’s licenses, court records and other personal identifying information, putting them at risk of identity theft,” the FBI said in a written statement.

And, of course, victims also were told they’d have to pay a fee to have their information deleted.

“Even then, some pictures were not removed or, if they were taken off one site, they were then posted to a similar site,” according tot he statement. “If victims threatened to report the websites for unlawful practice, the websites’ owners threatened to escalate the damaging information against the victims.”

Anyone who has run into this problem may file a complaint with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at http://www.ic3.gov