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“You pretend to be a victim and string them along, try to get them to waste as much of their time, money, and resources as you can,” he says.

As for Firefly, she now refuses to date anyone she doesn’t meet the old-fashioned way, face to face.

They received a phonecall one evening from someone who claimed he was the pimp of a prostitute the man had hired and he was demanding payment for his coworker’s services.

My friend hadn’t hired a prostitute, and contacted the front desk of the hotel, who explained that this was a pretty common scam.

And because prostitution is illegal, it’s a great opportunity for extortion – I suspect that there’s probably also a practice of following people from bars where prostitutes are common, then threatening to turn them into the police if extortion demands aren’t met.

Finally, because sex is a subject most of us don’t like to talk about with strangers, it tends to leave us flustered and unsettled when accusations are made, leaving us more vulnerable to making poor decisions, like paying an extortion fee.

The scammer hopes to reach a tourist who had hired a prostitute and saw himself as a potential target for extortion, or a person who hadn’t hired a prostitute but was sufficiently embarrased by the prospect of being confronted in a hotel lobby that he pays hush money.

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