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Zoey_ JD
Zoey_ JD, JustAnswer Criminal Law Mentor
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 23601
Experience:  Admitted to NYS Criminal defense bar in 1989. Extensive arraignment, hearing, trial experience.
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I met a girl online on a dating site where you're only

Customer Question

I met a girl online on a dating site where you're only supposed to be 18 and we started talking. She got my number and then informed she was 16 but turning 17 soon. I live in Texas so I thought the wait would be fine because my life sucks and I'm an idiot. Then she set me up by talking dirty and convinced me (though it didn't take much) to trade pictures with her. Now her family is extorting money from me and treatening to call the cops still....how screwed am i?
JA: OK. The Criminal Lawyer will need to help you with this. Have you consulted a lawyer yet?
Customer: No. I tried to handle this on my own but I know now that it's not a good idea
JA: Please tell me everything you can about this issue so the Criminal Lawyer can help you best. Is there anything else the Criminal Lawyer should be aware of?
Customer: I'm 22. I've paid $850 to the family so far and in my messages I state that I'm not interested in actually having sex until she's of age. She and I have never met in real life and only have one day of texting between the 2 of us
JA: OK. Got it. I'm sending you to a secure page on JustAnswer so you can place the $5 fully-refundable deposit now. While you're filling out that form, I'll tell the Criminal Lawyer about your situation and then connect you two.
Submitted: 6 months ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 6 months ago.
Hello, You would be in potential trouble if this were for real. Fortunately, you're a victim of a very popular scam. It's known as "sextortion" and it is a criminal offense. You have been deliberately set up to chat with someone who could then turn the tables on you and blackmail you. Unscrupulous people hover around on chat rooms and dating sites, and they lure in their victims by assuring them that they are of age but then engaging them in sexual chat and/or pictures. Then, all of a a sudden, the girl tells the unsuspecting victim that she is still a minor. Ultimately, at some point later you get a phone call from a supposedly angry parent. But what that so called authority figure wants is money or he claims he'll prosecute. That's blackmail, of course, and one should never give into that. You need to stop sending money and block all contact with the so-called minor and her so called father and send no money. Neither of them is really who and what they say they are. You are dealing with thieves and there is no underaged girl you were ever really in touch with You should never give in to an extortion request. If you pay them, you'll have to keep paying them for the rest of your life. And I know you already see that I am right about that. These creeps only have power over you if you give in to them. In these scams there really isn't any minor at all. It's all just a way to intimidate you to get your money. If you simply disappear, the scammers go away and move on to someone else, because it's not about reporting you, but only about money. They can't really report it without producing a minor and swearing out a complaint with the police, which means identifying themselves and leaving them open to a blackmail charge. Additionally it's illegal for a minor to initiate such contact, just as it's illegal for you. As many times a day as we get a question like yours, we have yet to hear of a so-called father who actually pressed charges. So, to recap -- the chances are almost 100% that there's no real minor here, no real father, and nobody who would dare go to the police. Real victims and their angry parents don't behave like this. Block their contact. You should also cancel your membership on the site where you met her. Most probably nothing at all will happen except that they will move on and try to set someone else up for extortion. I cannot guarantee you that you have nothing to be concerned about, however, only that I have never seen the sextortionist follow through. So in the event that you hear from someone who claims to be a police officer, or if the minor or her father try to reach you some other way, say NOTHING more about this incident to the police except that you do not wish to discuss anything until you can reach your lawyer. That's your right and the authorities are required to honor that and can't hold that against you. Then you can go out and look for a local criminal lawyer. But I'm quite convinced it will never come to that. It hasn't yet!
Expert:  Zoey_ JD replied 6 months ago.
Just checking in to see if you need more help or any clarification of my answer. If so, please reply here on this question thread.