Law enforcement issues warning over "plenty of fish" scam

Officials with the Cochise County Sheriff's Office is warning the public on a possible telephone scam that involved someone claiming to be a member of the Sheriff's Office.

According to a statement released Monday afternoon, the office received a call in reference to a possible telephone scam, but didn't say when the office received the call.

Officials also provided a description of the scam.

The alleged victim, according to the statement, was picked from a dating website, and contacted by an interested female. That purported female pretends to be interested, and sent the alleged victim explicit photos of herself. The purported female also solicited similar photos from the alleged victim, but only after convincing him to give out his phone number.

After the alleged victim gave out his number photos, the man received a call from a man who identified himself as a law enforcement officer from the same region or area as the alleged victim. In this case, the "office" identified himself as "Chief Smith from the Cochise County Sheriff's Office".

The man, according to the statement, told the alleged victim that he was chatting with an underage girl, and is now in possession of inappropriate images of a minor. The man then told the alleged victim to wait for a call back from the agency, and that if he doesn't answer that call, someone will come to his home to arrest him.

Shortly after the call from the fake cops, officials said the alleged parent of the minor will call the alleged victim, telling them they found his information on their child's phone, and act like a concerned parent. After receiving the call from the alleged parents, the alleged victim received another call from the fake cops, encouraging him to handle the situation "civilly" with the parents by way of monetary compensation, while saying the minor's phone is undergoing forensic examination, and threatening criminal charges should they discover the victim has communicated with the minor.

The alleged victim, according to the statement, became suspicious after a call was made by the "parents", and called Cochise County Sheriff's Office. Officials called this type of scam "plenty of fish scam", and said that internet searches yielded several stories from the past few years of the same scam, often with successful results for the alleged scammers.