FACT CHECK: Viral scam text is not a sex trafficking attempt

We spoke to police to separate fact from fiction.
Published: Mar. 10, 2022 at 9:38 PM CST
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - People are taking to social media concerned about a text that people across the valley, and in other states, have been receiving.

It’s coming from various phone numbers, with a picture of a girl.

One person claims this is a form of sex trafficking.

We spoke to police to separate fact from fiction.

Fargo and West Fargo police say they started getting reports of this scam during the last couple of days.

But the claim of it being a form of sex trafficking isn’t true.

They say the scammer can’t see your location through a text exchange.

However, they could if you click on something like a suspicious link.

Police tell us you will rarely see sex trafficking out in the open for everyone to see, and it certainly wouldn’t be documented through text.

But West Fargo PD says people from our area are being targeted for a reason.

”They try to pull at our heartstrings or they try to find a way to get us to give them our information. This is just the next line of what they’re doing. It’s something to be very cautious of, but we see that tag word and immediately go to comfort or try to help people. That’s why the Midwest gets hit hard with stuff like this because that’s just the mentality that we have around this area,” says West Fargo PD’s Detective Tim Runcorn.

Police say the biggest thing about these scams is that they’re usually coming from overseas.

Even if it looks like they’re calling from a local number, it’s a spoof they’ve taken from the internet and are dialing with it.

Police are taking these scams seriously, but there’s not much they can do right now.

They say in order to go catch some of these people, usually federal assistance is required.

For now, the best advice police have is to not respond, delete the text, and block the number.

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