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Scammers targeting Valley residents through online dating app

(Pexels)

PHOENIX — The Phoenix Police Department is investigating a scam connected to online dating apps.

Several Valley residents have reported that someone posing as a Phoenix Police Internet Crimes Against Children Unit investigator told them they were under investigation by the unit for exchanging photos and communicating with a minor after using a dating site.

“What has happened is individuals have met people on the internet and they are legit conversations — everything’s good — and then at some point they receive a phone call from an individual who says, ‘Hey, you’ve been sending pictures back and forth to a minor, inappropriate pictures,'” Sgt. Tommy Thompson, spokesperson for the Phoenix Police Department, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Friday.

“When in fact that is absolutely not the case, but they tell the person — the citizen they’ve called — that instead of charging them with a crime, the parents, the family of the victim [says] all they want is treatment, therapy for their children. And if they will provide money, they can do that in lieu of being charged with these serious crimes.”

The dating sites used were not immediately known as the investigation is ongoing.

Thompson added the Phoenix Police Department will never ask or arrange for any type of payment in exchange for dropping criminal charges.

If contacted by anyone claiming to be an officer or detective with the department, individuals can contact Phoenix PD to verify the person’s identity at 602-262-6151.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ali Vetnar contributed to this report.

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