Can a person be arrested for receiving unsolicited nude photos from a minor on a dating site that lied about his age ?
2 attorney answers
Possible: the infamous "Underage Girl Scam".
Here's how it works:
1. You are on some kind of adult dating or chat site -- either heterosexual or gay-- where a person says they are over 18, and either sends you (or lures you into sending them) sexy pictures.
2. Then they say that they are actually 16, or 14, or some other age under 18.
3. Next, the "father", the "mother" or a "detective" calls or texts you and demands money to keep them from filing charges. Often, the money is supposed to replace a "smashed phone", "computer", or something else . . . even a car that the "minor wrecked while going to meet up with you". Sometimes they "send the minor to a juvenile military boot camp". One guy reported, "they were gonna contact the police unless I paid their company to take the nudes out their database!!"
4 The tip-off is that they want payment by Western Union, MoneyGram, iStore credit, Paypal.Me, Snapcash, money order, or gift cards BUT NOT by cash or checks.
5. Don't send gift cards. Don't send Western Union money. There is no minor child, no father, no mother, no detective, no wrecked car, no damaged garage door, and no ruined computer.
6. You are not alone. Questions about this scam come up several times a week here on AVVO.
7. Just to be clear: THIS IS A SCAM. THIS SCAM HAS BEEN GOING ON FOR YEARS. THERE IS NO FATHER, NO GIRL, NO FBI, NO DETECTIVE, NO COUNSELING, NO THERAPY, and NO EARLY TERMINATION FEES ON THE PHONE.
8. The best thing to do is block their numbers and ignore them. You can report them to the police for fraud and extortion, but without an ID that is a dead end. They use "burner" phones and spoof caller ID.
9. If you want to fool around with them, offer to send a check, or offer to meet them somewhere with cash. They WILL NOT give you their name or address, and will not meet with you. Moneypak, Western Union, Walmart gift cards, and the like are all ANONYMOUS ways to receive money, and the scammers will not identify themselves or they would risk being arrested for EXTORTION.
10. Read all the similar stories at: http://www.thedailyscam.com/plenty-of-fish-pof-has-plenty-of-sharks/
PLEASE DO NOT PRIVATE MESSAGE ME with followup questions. Instead, you may make a comment below, which will be sent to me automatically. If you need an attorney to assist you, please search in your local area, or click the "Find a Lawyer" link at the top of the page. I am active on AVVO and answer questions only as a public service. I am an Attorney-at-Law, licensed to practice law only in the state of California. Unless we have both signed a formal retainer agreement you are not my client, and my discussion of issues does not constitute legal advice. Opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of those who hold other opinions.
Odds are this was an attempt to set your family member up for a scam extortion. If he didn't communicate with this "minor" after they sent a nude I wouldn't worry about it. But if contacted by police I would immediately contact a criminal defense attorney. But make sure it's a legitimate police and not a further part of the scam.
Nothing in this communication should be construed as creating an attorney-client relationship. I provide this service for educational purposes only. I will take no action on your behalf unless you have hired me and a written retainer agreement is signed. I am licensed only in Tennessee and I strongly suggest you consult with an attorney in your city and state as Statute of Limitation deadlines can limit your recovery.