Crime

Here’s why gruesome videos are showing up on Tri-City messaging apps

Pasco Police Department

Scammers are trying to scare people in Pasco using the WhatsApp messenger service.

Victims are getting a message claiming they owe money along with a threatening video of gruesome murders and dismemberment, Pasco police said.

It’s unknown where the video of the bleeding men with knife wounds came from. There isn’t any personal connection between the victims and the people in the message, said a Facebook post by Detective Jesse Romero.

For now the messages seem to be directed at Spanish speakers, but previous versions have been in English.

It may be part of a larger scam that cropped up earlier this year involving the Facebook-owned application WhatsApp.

According to a report from WBAY in Green Bay, Wis., WhatsApp users received similar videos with the same demand in May.

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WhatsApp is similar to Skype and combines the ability to send text messages and video, along with making phone calls.

The messages are from strangers’ accounts and appear to be spam, Pasco police said.

If you respond, you are told to send money through an untraceable method, such as a money order.

Police are urging people receiving the message not to respond, and any Pasco resident who gets the message is being asked to call Romero at 509-628-0333.

Cameron Probert: 509-582-1402; Twitter: @cameroncprobert

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