Archive for: July, 2017

Victim of revenge porn confronts creator of video

MIDLAND — It’s a childish thing to do: compiling then publishing photos of people in their most vulnerable state, and it’s called revenge porn.

A video showing nude photos of women and men throughout the Midland community has surfaced on Facebook.

And one of the victims is 20-year-old Bekka Wollaston. Though she was a victim of lewd acts like this in high school, she never thought she’d be facing a similar situation years later.

Tears can be seen streaming down her face during a Facebook live video published Tuesday night. Bekka addresses the anonymous creators of the revenge porn video that’s caused a social media fire storm.

“My heart just started racing. It was frustrating because I had gone through that same thing in high school and I’m 20 now and in college and trying to make something of mysellf,” Bekka said.

She wasn’t even aware of the video on Flipagram, a video editing app, until a Facebook friend tagged her in a post.

Bekka initially thought the video was spam, but pressed play, and then saw a photo of herself.

In the video, over 30 men and women are shown—some, even nude.

Bekka believes multiple people are behind the damaging video. One name associated with it is Felipee Ruiz, and a Facebook profile belonging to Yoli Sanchez has multiple posts hinting toward creating the video by asking people to contribute intimate photos of unknowing victims.
“There’s this video that I’m associated with that is literally shaming people for trusting others with personal pictures,” Bekka said.

The video has since then been removed from Flipagram, but the pain it caused still remains.

“You don’t know what someone’s going through and they see that video and they could be struggling with depression or struggling with body issues or something like that and to see that could tip someone over the edge,” she said.

According to Rachel Walker with the Midland Police Department, revenge porn is considered unlawful disclosure or promotion of intimate visual material and is a Class A misdemeanor under the Texas penal code.

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Scots revenge porn blackmailer who hunted for victims on Grindr hit with extended five year prison sentence

A REVENGE porn blackmailer who hunted for victims on a gay dating website was given an extended five year prison sentence.

Reece Scobie, 23, of Inchture, between Dundee and Perth, blackmailed his victims by threatening to publish naked pictures of them on social media sites after meeting them on Grindr.

Central News

Scobie blackmailed his victims by threatening to publish naked pictures of them on social media

Scobie told his sextortion victims he would post explicit images they had sent him across the internet and pass them on to their family and friends.

Sheriff Lindsay Foulis heard Scobie was a “borderline genius” who could have gone to university and called his case “somewhat tragic and a waste of ability.”

He told Scobie he would spend three years behind bars and a further two year extended sentence was imposed to protect the public from serious harm.

Scobie was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register and made the subject of a highly restrictive Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

Among the restrictions is a ban on using social media like Facebook without special police approval.

Sheriff Foulis told Scobie that his three victims would have been extremely alarmed and distressed by the threats to make them the subject of revenge porn.

He was already on the Sex Offenders Register when he lured his victims – including a 15-year-old boy – into sending pictures of their genitals to him.

When they tried to break off contact with Scobie he threatened to hack Google and Facebook and find all the images of their faces which were present online.

Scobie told victims: “I’m going to go on Facebook and hack it. I’m going to distribute your dirty chat and nude photos.

“I’m going to send them individually to each and every one of your friends.

“This might take me all day but it will be worth it.

“I’m going to send them to your work and put them all over my Facebook.

“I will drive your life into the ground like a f***ing tent peg.

“This is a promise I intend to keep. I will also send your photos to your uni.

“If you want to sort this out I’m here to talk. If not – game on.”

Fiscal depute John Malpass told the court that Scobie – who also used the pseudonym Calum Maxwell – had found his victims on Grindr.

He said Scobie had been jailed in Iceland after being caught with child porn images on a flight to the USA and had been booted out of the country on February 8 last year.

Within a fortnight he had started seeking out victims on Grindr and had exchanged numbers with them so they could initially send each other text messages.

“The accused asked the first one to send naked photos of himself,” Mr Malpass said.

“The man was nervous but after some persuasion he sent photos.”

However, Scobie started acting “in a strange manner” and became aggressive towards his victims and started making threats when they tried to cut off contact with him.

He admitted that on March 8 last year he tried to extort responses to his text messages by threatening to publish naked images of one complainer on the internet.

He admitted threatening a second man in a similar way the following day and also that he would pass his naked pictures on to his family and friends.

Between March 1 and April 30 he admitted causing a 15-year-old child to participate in sexual activity by inducing him to create sexual images and send them to Scobie.

He admitted two further charges relating to the schoolboy including menacing him and trying to extort further images from him by threatening to publish his naked pictures online.

Scobie also admitted breaching bail by deleting the browser history on his mobile phone.

Mr Malpass told the court that Scobie’s victims were “concerned and frightened” and that the youngest victim was only discovered during an analysis of the paedophile’s phone after he was arrested.

Solicitor Gary McIlravey, defending, said: “What he said to me was that he was struggling with his sexuality at the time. This spiraled out of control.”

Earlier this year, Scobie was placed on the register after Police Scotland took a rare civil action based on his conviction from outside the United Kingdom.

Scobie, who has used stolen credit card details to travel the world, was jailed in Iceland after being found with child porn images and videos on his latest illicit trip to Seattle in the United States.

As well as being jailed for 12 months in Iceland last year, he was also ordered to pay the equivalent of £18,000 court costs after he admitted several frauds and having a large haul of child porn.

He was found with 4,750 photographs and 345 videos of child porn and the internet restricting conditions were in place upon his return to Scotland.

In 2013, Scobie, who was just 19, was locked up for 16 months after he admitted carrying out a massive con to fund his “fantasy” globetrotting lifestyle.

He was compared to notorious Catch Me If You Can fraudster Frank Abagnale in the wake of a global travel con funded by £70,000 he duped from travel agents.

Abagnale Jnr, played by Leonardo di Caprio in the movie, posed as an airline pilot to travel the world while taunting the authorities.

Scobie booked as many as 30 hotel rooms and at least five luxury holidays across the world each costing between £5,000 and £10,000.

The teenager – who lives with his mother – booked round the world trips taking in Dubai, Auckland, Atlanta, New York and Vancouver.


 


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The people – including children – convicted of revenge porn in Birmingham

The West Midlands is a hotspot for revenge porn, with people in the area twice as likely as the national average to be found guilty of the crime.

There were 22 convictions for disclosing private sexual photographs and films with intent to cause distress in the West Midlands police area in 2016.

This was a rate of 7.8 convictions per 1m people, nearly twice the England rate of 4.3 per 1m.

Of those convicted in 2016, 20 were men, one was a women, and one was not stated. The numbers were up from 16 convictions, of men, in the nine months from April to December 2015.

Across England and Wales, there were 293 adults proceeded against and 247 convictions for revenge porn in 2016. This was up from 268 people proceeded against and 218 convictions between April and December 2015.

The majority of people found guilty in England and Wales were men, with 216 found guilty in 2016, along with 30 women, and one case where gender was not stated.

Six boys aged under 18 were also proceeded against on charges relating to revenge porn in 2016, with two convictions, compared to three proceeded against and three convictions in 2015. One girl aged under 18 was also proceeded against and convicted in 2016.

The offence, under Section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015, came into force on April 13, 2015. The Revenge Porn Helpline was launched in February 2015 to help tackle the problem of people sharing intimate images online.

Judges have discretionary powers to prohibit the naming of victims if identification would affect the case and cause undue fear or distress.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “Revenge porn is an awful abuse of trust which can leave victims feeling humiliated and degraded. Since we changed the law, there have been over 550 prosecutions for this offence which carries a maximum sentence of two years behind bars – proving our tough stance is working.

“By making it a specific offence, we have sent a clear message that this crime will not be tolerated.”

The figures, released by the Ministry of Justice following a Freedom of Information request, relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with.

The number of defendants found guilty in a particular year may exceed the number proceeded against as the proceedings in the magistrates’ court took place in an earlier year and the defendants were found guilty at the Crown Court in the following year; or the defendants were found guilty of a different offence to that for which they were originally proceeded against.

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Woman Arrested for Revenge Porn After Posting Naked Pictures of Her Ex-Boyfriend to Facebook

A 38-year-old woman from San Antonio, Texas, faces a charge of publishing intimate material after she posted naked photos of her ex-boyfriend on Facebook, reported the San Antonio Express-News.

Traci Lorraine Aragon, who is being held at the Bexar County Jail on a $2,000 bond, made the revenge porn postings after her unidentified boyfriend ended their relationship.

After the breakup, Aragon sent several nude photos of him to his friends and posted them on Facebook, police said.

When he asked her to remove the photos from Facebook, she allegedly ridiculed and insulted him and said she would “blast him” if he messes with her.

Once he reported the revenge porn to police, officers took screen shots of the postings and text message conversations between the two, according to an arrest affidavit.

Police obtained a warrant for Aragon’s arrest and later booked her into jail.

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First Revenge Porn Case For Cleveland County Authorities

CLEVELAND COUNTY, Oklahoma –
A man is in the Cleveland County jail charged with sharing revenge porn on social media. It is the first revenge porn case for Cleveland County authorities. They are now warning the public to think before you post.

Cleveland County authorities say a Valentine’s Day photo from a previous relationship turned into revenge material for the suspect – 36-year-old Shane Glisson.

When Glisson’s relationship with his now ex-girlfriend went sour, she filed a victim’s protection order in Cleveland County. Authorities said the VPO did not stop Glisson from contacting her. Court paperwork states Glisson continued to email and text the woman. He even showed up to her house and work.

Nearly a year after the relationship ended, authorities said he crossed the line by posting revenge porn on Facebook.

“One of the elements that the suspect chose to do was to take an intimate photograph that had been provided while they were in a relationship,” said Undersheriff Rhett Burnett, Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office. “Posted it on social media and began making negative comments about it.”

Glisson was arrested Thursday and is in the Cleveland County jail. Prosecutors have charged him with two counts of stalking and one count of distribution of obscene material – or revenge porn. Sharing and posting sexually explicit photos of an ex to harass or embarrass them is a crime in Oklahoma. Lawmakers passed the bill in 2016.

“This is the first one we have been able to file,” said Burnett. “It met the elements of the offense.”

Undersheriff Burnett expects more cases to be reported once the public knows it is illegal. He plans to go after offenders.

“It is not a joke,” said Burnett. “It’s not a way to get back at an ex or spouse. It is a crime and the Cleveland County Sheriff’s Office, we’re going to prosecute.”

Revenge porn is a misdemeanor on the first offense. The punishment is up to one year in prison or a $25,000 fine; any subsequent offenses are a felony.

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11 Tips To Protect Yourself Against Online Romance Scams

Hundreds of thousands of women and men worldwide fall victim to online romance scams every year. Reported losses in the U.S. alone top $230 million annually, although the FBI estimates that only 15 percent of such crimes are reported and the actual losses are much higher. Most of that money will never be recovered.

Here are 11 things you can do to avoid being scammed:

1. Make sure you actually know the person before accepting a friend request on Facebook.

If the person claims you have mutual friends, verify that claim. Be wary of people who show only a handful of friends on their Facebook page and few personal photos. Maybe they’re just new to social media, but recognize that their profile is giving you very little evidence of their existence.

2. Keep the conversation on the dating site.

Take it as a red flag when someone you’ve recently met on a dating site wants to leave the site’s chat feature in favor of another messaging platform. Scammers phish for victims anywhere they can. But for ease, they prefer to keep their communications all in one place. Scammers like to use apps such as WhatsApp, Kik or Viber.

3. Check their photos.

Use the free Google Image Search to see where else the photos have appeared. Click on the camera icon in the search box and then drag in or upload a picture. Google will show you where that image has been posted online. You can see if it was used by someone with a different name or if it has been reported to a scam list.

4. Investigate what they tell you about themselves.

Google them. Verify what they’ve told you. The absence of a digital footprint, in and of itself, is questionable these days. Check records: Marriages and divorces are recorded. Property ownership is public information. So are criminal records. There are several fee-based services, such as Spokeo, to help you search. Spending a little could save you a lot.

5. See if the text of their messages appears elsewhere.

Romance scammers literally read from scripts. (Scamwarners contains some popular ones.) If you’re worried you’re being scammed, try copying a message from your online friend and searching for it on Google. You may find the identical or very similar language in other links. That’s a major red flag.

6. Invite your new friend to video chat with you.

The fastest way to smoke out a scammer just may be to invite them to video chat on a platform like Skype, Facebook Messenger or FaceTime. Scammers don’t ever want to talk “live” while showing their faces. How can they when they don’t actually exist?

7. Verify where a photo was really taken.

If your suitor says he is from California but his photo was taken in a backyard in Ohio, it’s worth questioning. This site can give you a lot of information about an image, including when and where it was shot. (It doesn’t work if the relevant photo metadata was stripped away, as some social networks do.)

8. Beware of “soldiers” asking for money.

People in the armed forces can certainly have money troubles. But photos of military men are frequently stolen and used in scams. There are no circumstances ― ever ― in which a real member of the U.S. military needs to ask for money for service-related transportation, medical care or administrative fees.

9. Check where the emails come from.

Every computer, smartphone and tablet is assigned an IP address that shows you the country of assignation. Every email has a header that reveals the IP address of the device that sent it. You can learn how to find the header and analyze it here. To understand more about what you’re reading, go here. (And if you want to see if your own email has been hacked, go here.)

10. If you’ve been scammed, report it.

If you suspect you’re the victim of a romance scam, file a complaint with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center. The bureau estimates that only 15 percent of victims come forward. Think of it like this: You could be helping some other person who’s being defrauded. The FBI also urges victims to contact their banks, credit card companies and/or credit bureaus to block access to accounts, freeze accounts, dispute charges or attempt to recover lost funds.

11. Don’t send money to online strangers.

Just don’t. Tell a friend or relative about the request.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/tips-to-protect-against-online-romance-scams_us_594a90f9e4b01cdedeff861c
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The Avon and Somerset police area is a hotspot for revenge porn

People in Bath could be twice as likely to be convicted for revenge porn, after stats revealed the Avon and Somerset police area as a hotspot for the crime.

There were 13 convictions for disclosing private sexual photographs and films without consent and with intent to cause distress across the force area in 2016.

This was a rate of 7.8 convictions per one million people, nearly twice the England rate of 4.3 convictions for every one million people.

Of those convicted in 2016, 12 were men and one was a woman. The numbers were up from nine convictions, eight of men and one of a women, in the nine months from April to December 2015.

Across England and Wales, there were 293 adults proceeded against and 247 convictions for revenge porn last year.

This was up from 268 people proceeded against and 218 convictions between April and December 2015.

The majority of people found guilty in England and Wales were men, with 216 found guilty in 2016, along with 30 women, and one case where gender was not stated.

Six boys aged under 18 were also proceeded against on charges relating to revenge porn in 2016, with two convictions, compared to three proceeded against and three convictions in 2015. One girl aged under 18 was also proceeded against and convicted in 2016.

Revenge porn, under Section 33 of the Criminal Justice and Courts Act 2015, came into force on April 13, 2015. The Revenge Porn Helpline was launched in February of that year to help tackle the problem of people sharing intimate images of their former partners online.

Judges have discretionary powers to prohibit the naming of victims if identification would affect the case and cause undue fear or distress.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson said: “Revenge porn is an awful abuse of trust which can leave victims feeling humiliated and degraded. Since we changed the law, there have been over 550 prosecutions for this offense which carries a maximum sentence of two years behind bars – proving our tough stance is working.

“By making it a specific offense, we have sent a clear message that this crime will not be tolerated.”

The figures were released by the Ministry of Justice following a Freedom of Information request.

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Student cheated by female con artist in naked-chat scam

(MENAFN – Asia Times) A 20-year-old university student, surnamed Ooi, claims to have lost RM2,000 (US466) to a con artist posing as a Filipina of the same age in a naked-chat scam in Malaysia.

At 5pm on July 4, Ooi, who lives in Petaling Jaya, a satellite town near Kuala Lumpur, met a woman named Irene over a mobile app ‘Hi’, Sin Chew Daily reported. At 10pm, Ooi received a naked video from the woman via Skype and was requested by her to have a naked chat.

Ooi followed her suggestion and took off his clothes in front of his mobile phone camera. On the morning of July 5, he was blackmailed by the woman, who threaten to circulate the naked video of him that she had taken during the chat.

Ooi borrowed RM2,000 from friends and transferred the money tohe scammer in three payments between July 5 and 10. On July 11, Irene asked for another RM1,000 but Ooi said he had no more money. He called the police.

Datuk Seri Michael Chong, director of the Malaysian Chinese Association’s Public Services and Complaint Department, told the Guang Ming Daily that the department had handled 22 cases of blackmailing since 2015.

Of the 22 cases, 16 involved naked-chat scams and most of the victims were young men, Chong said. Netizens are advised not to send naked photos or videos to strangers or try to settle matters by transferring money, he said.

 

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Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett Opens Up About Being a Revenge Porn Victim

Two former House staffers were indicted Thursday by the U.S. Attorney’s office on charges related to an alleged revenge porn leak against their former boss, Congresswoman Stacey Plaskett (D-Virgin Islands). In her first stateside interview since the incident, which took place just before her July 2016 Democratic primary election, Plaskett told The Daily Beast the exclusive story of how she became a victim of what she calls “cyber sexual assault.”

It was 1 a.m. on a sweltering July night in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the then-first-term congresswoman was asleep in her home with her family, when the phone rang. It would ring many more times that night.

Plaskett and husband Jonathan Buckney-Small scrambled from bed to take the first call. His brother was on the line, saying somebody just posted a topless selfie of Plaskett on Facebook, as well as a short video Plaskett took of her nude husband and their clothed daughter in their bathroom, playing with makeup. It’s on a public page, he said, being downloaded as we speak.

The couple started calling Facebook and anyone they could think of who might have sway with Facebook or law enforcement, which was a lot of people. Buckney-Small is a popular community activist and former professional tennis player, and Plaskett is the Virgin Islands’ lone delegate to the U.S. Congress.

Facebook took the post down at 4 a.m.—which was at least three hours too late.

That was the opening sequence of the saga Plaskett and her family endured beginning July 21, 2016, and culminating Thursday with the Department of Justice’s indictment of her two former congressional aides on federal charges related to the circulation of their former boss’s private nude images.

The staffers worked in Plaskett’s legislative office in Washington, D.C. According to the indictment, Juan R. McCullum, 35, of Washington D.C., who worked in the office from April 2015 to July 2016, was charged with two counts of cyberstalking, and Dorene Browne-Louis, 45, of Upper Marlboro, Md., who worked in the office from January 2015 to April 2016, was charged with two counts of obstruction of justice.

The indictment alleges that McCullum offered to get Plaskett’s iPhone repaired at a local Apple store in March 2016. The iPhone contained private, nude photos and videos that McCullum is alleged to have stolen and distributed using a Hotmail address and a Facebook account under a fictitious name. McCullum also is alleged to have encouraged others on social media to distribute and post the images in Plaskett’s congressional district during the run-up to her primary election.

McCullum told Browne-Louis about his activities as early as July 2, according to the indictment. She is accused of deleting text messages from McCullum and making false, incomplete, and misleading statements to law enforcement and a grand jury. Browne-Louis made her first appearance in court on Thursday, where she pleaded not guilty to the charges and was released on her own recognizance. McCullum’s first appearance in court has not yet been scheduled.

“I was informed today that preliminary arrests had been made of individuals who are alleged to have been involved in those illegal acts,” Plaskett said in a statement Friday. “I am deeply grateful to the Capitol Police and U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia for their thorough and in-depth investigation of the crimes committed against me.” Her office declined to comment further on the specifics of the indictment, given the ongoing investigation.

But in an exclusive interview conducted before the indictments, Plaskett told The Daily Beast that on July 22, 2016, when she and her husband got the stolen material temporarily removed from Facebook, their relief was short-lived.

That same afternoon, Politico came out with a story about Plaskett’s photos and video under a soon-to-be-edited headline using the phrase “sex tape.” Before the day’s end, other publications including The Hill, Jezebel, and the New York Daily News picked up not just the story but the “sex-tape” misnomer. Bipartisan Report took less than a day to label the scandal “career-ending.”

“I had to call my sons in college and sit down with my son in the eighth grade and try to explain this to them,” Plaskett, 51, told The Daily Beast in her first stateside interview on the events in question. “The [New York] Daily News ran a story, so I had to call my parents, who are in their 80s and live in New York and were getting phone calls about me.”

The photo, she explained, was a topless selfie she had taken for her husband, something like a souvenir of “a healthy marriage,” she said, and the video was a non-sexual home movie of a private family moment. Both, Plaskett alleged then, were criminally hacked from her phone or computer.

When the photo and video were released, Plaskett said she felt like she was traversing a minefield. She wanted to win re-election, but she refused to act like a victim. “People were trying to bait me to go down a rabbit trail of talking about this a lot, and I didn’t want to play the victim or be this distraught and upset woman,” she said.

The most painful part was “the allusion or allegation that the close family relationship we had was inappropriate,” Plaskett said, referring to the video of her husband and their daughter. “We live in a hot climate in the tropics, and we only have ceiling fans. We don’t have central air because it costs too much, so you walk around in your underwear, or someone can walk into you in a bathroom and you don’t have any clothes on. It’s really no big deal, but people were alluding to us doing [sexual] stuff with our little girl around. That was really, really hurtful.”

It didn’t hurt her at the polls, though. The day the photo and video appeared, Plaskett issued a statement denouncing the hacking and non-consensual posting of the material, and two days later she did a lone interview on the topic with the Virgin Islands Consortium.

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Activists pushing for harsher penalties for posting revenge porn

Revenge porn is a crime in Texas and it could be considered domestic violence, but some say that the penalties aren’t very harsh.

SAN ANTONIO – Revenge porn is a crime in Texas and it could be considered domestic violence.

“They feel very afraid and terrorized,” said Patricia Castillo, executive director of P.E.A.C.E who works with victims of relationship and family violence and says that she’s seeing many more cases involving threats of revenge porn. “It’s an abusive power. People need to see it that way. It can really destroy someone’s reputation and credibility, so it’s something that must be taken very seriously.”

Criminal defense attorney Steven Gilmore says that revenge porn is a crime, but penalties are not very harsh.

“In Texas, it is a Class A misdemeanor,” he noted. “Posting a photo of sexual conduct is not more serious than your average telephone harassment case.”

Gilmore said that if the case is proven to be domestic violence, the victim can file for a restraining order and that can lead to more consequences for the person posting the picture.

“That will prevent a defendant from owning or possessing a firearm in the future,” he said.

Castillo said that she hopes to see legislation passed with stronger penalties. For now, she encourages victims, who are primarily women, to speak out.

“I think they most definitely need to document with law enforcement,” she said. “They need to press charges.”

© 2017 KENS-TV

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