LOUDOUN COUNTY, Va. — Editor's Note: The video above originally aired on April 28, regarding new Virginia laws taking effect July 1.
Three Virginia men were reportedly targeted in extortion scams over the weekend. Now, the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office (LCSO) has put out a warning.
In three separate incidents, reported on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, LCSO said men who had met someone online were then asked to send nude photos or videos of themselves. Once the photos or videos were sent, the person demanded the men send money through a cash app, or the photos/videos would be sent to family and friends. In all three cases, the men paid the money.
The first two incidents happened in Ashburn and the third happened in Chantilly on Sunday.
LCSO has not made any arrests in these cases, nor have they put out a suspect description. In their extortion scam warning, LCSO said scammers targeting people through dating sites often pose as young women, and they reminded the community never to send personal information, including photos, to people they do not know.
A new law going into effect on July 1 will make sending explicit images without the explicit consent of the receiver, also called "cyberflashing," illegal in Virginia. Victims will be able to sue violators, who could be liable "for actual damages or $500, whichever is greater, in addition to reasonable attorney fees and costs," the bill states. The bill was backed by the popular and self-described "women-first" dating app, Bumble.
The bill provides only a civil penalty, not a criminal one. Victims would have to file a claim in court. Violations would not be handled by law enforcement.