Women say invasive phone scam leads to explicit images
COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WSMV/Gray News) - A picture of a woman floating around social media is part of what victims said could be an invasive phone scam leading to explicit images.
WSMV looked into this and found out the scam seems to be going to women’s phones across the country.
When a text popped up with a picture of a woman’s face and an uncomfortable message, Sophie Mathai and her mother, Cathy, knew something seemed off.
“I was like, ‘I’m a minor, but hope you find who you’re looking for,’” Sophie said of her response to the first text.
The unknown number texted Sophie back, saying, “She must have handed me the wrong #. Did you enjoy the photo, though?”
Sophie said the number seemed familiar, and the person behind it seemed to know she was gay.
“It was a 615 number and also with that detail of “She must have given me the wrong number,” pointed out Sophie.
“I got it a week later from a totally different number,” said her mom, Cathy. “Same face photo, slightly different entrée like ‘Oh, sorry I missed you.’”
When her mother was sent the same photo, they learned they weren’t the only targets.
“We have people on our block that are getting it, people in our Bible study that are getting it; it’s just this massive scheme,” Cathy believes.
It’s a scheme Sophie said she’s seen women report on TikTok. When she got the text, she reported it to Columbia Police.
If you receive a text with the woman’s face, Robyn Householder, CEO of BBB Middle Tennessee, said to reach out to law enforcement and don’t text the number back.
“What you’ve really done for that scammer is confirm this is a legitimate phone number,” she said.
Householder said scams like this use bots and automation to get different phone numbers.
“Once they have access to your phone, then they have access to your contact list,” she said. “One victim makes it a good day for them.”
Both Cathy and Sophie Mathai said that number eventually sent explicit images. When they stopped texting, so did the person on the other end. Now they want others to be aware.
The BBB suggests taking a screenshot of the text and sending it to law enforcement.
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