HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Greg Scher is a 65 year old laid off construction worker here on Oahu. He went to Google and searched "fun employment in Hawaii." What he wound up with was a blackmail scam.
Scher found an ad on Craig's List calling for extras on Hawaii 5-0. It simply asked for his name, email and a recent picture. Thinking it was harmless he applied. Then weeks later he received an email from an unknown woman saying she saw his name and picture on a predator's website. The site is PredatorsWatch.com.
"So I put my name. Hit search. It brings up my name and picture in Honolulu," said Scher.
It's the same picture he used for the Hawaii 5-0 ad which he says he hasn't used anywhere else. Worse yet it says he is an active predator.
"The whole thing was bogus but they were basically blackmailing me into paying them money," said Scher.
For $99.95 the site says his name and profile would be taken off the site. He didn't fall for it.
"They got the wrong guy. They tried to blackmail the wrong person this time," said Scher. "I would take one of those little Nigerians and slap him until his shoes fell off."
He traced the email back to Nigeria. No surprise.
The website is from GoDaddy.com which he contacted to let them know about the fraud.
He also contacted the FBI which unfortunately can't do much because the Nigerian government won't cooperate.
The Better Business Bureau says people have to take Craigs list ads with a grain of salt.
"Scams over the years have become more sophisticated no doubt. They're targeting now individual marketplaces which is amazing because 5, 6, 7 years ago we may not have seen that," said Tim Caminos, Better Business Bureau of Hawaii. "Unfortunately they can keep on recreating websites. One will get shutdown, another will pop up. So it's really about consumers and job seekers being vigilant on their end to ensure they don't get ripped off."
"Now they seem to be targeting local Hawaiians here in Honolulu particularly because they posted an ad that is not readily going to be answered by someone outside of Honolulu," said Scher. "I'm sure that I wasn't the only one who answered that ad. So how many people don't know? How many people have they already gotten for money?"
The website lists 100 people from Honolulu as active predators, all with the chance to pay to have their profiles removed.
While no one wants to be on a site like Predators Watch, chances are the only people seeing it are others who are scammed. The most important thing is to not put in your credit card information.
The scam is targeted in other areas as well also using people online dating through Craigs List asking for pictures and emails.