Pittsburgh College Students Warned About Online Blackmail Scheme

PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – Police are warning college students in the Pittsburgh area about an online blackmail scheme.

Nearly 14,000 students enrolled at Carnegie Mellon University have become victims.

“I think it’s weird. I think it’s stupid that people are falling for it. People just aren’t thinking before they take action,” said Tyler Kohman, a junior at CMU.

The chief of police on campus isn’t talking about it and neither are school officials, but some students say they’ve been notified.

“The crime alert email came out yesterday,” said CMU senior John Bird. “Just [a] super weird description of people getting tricked into Skyping with someone and they get blackmailed after-the-fact.”

According to police, CMU students aren’t the only victims. It’s happening to college students all around the Pittsburgh area.

This is how it works: male students are contacted on Facebook. They chat with someone via Skype and are encouraged to remove their clothes and/or preform sexual acts in front of the web cam.

“I laughed a little at first. It was kind of strange to know people at this school, with this caliber of education, would fall victim to something like that,” said Alison Hoffman, a CMU junior. “It’s also very sad that people would be targeting people in a vulnerable situation.”

The blackmailer then demands money in order to prevent the release of the video.

“That’s a little hard to believe, especially students here could be a little gullible on the Internet,” CMU junior Will Hart said.

CMU Police want anyone who has information about this scam to give them a call at 412-268-2323.

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(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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