If it seems illegal, it probably is. This is what 29 year old Alan Chalfant of Tacoma suspected and confirmed after he was targeted for embarrassment and extortion by the site baitmymate.com. Alan was part of an ordinary dating website plentyoffish.com, where he contacted a girl he thought was pretty. The girl led him to a Facebook chat page and then abruptly ended all contact. Later, Alan found out the chat and his real name and information were posted by Baitmymate, listing him as a busted cheater. The problem? Alan was not in a relationship.
After contacting the site, the "removal department" indicated that someone had paid them to stage the conversation, lure him into a chat room, and post Alan's information. The problem? Alan initiated the conversation with the "woman." The "removal department" emphasizes the embarrassing exposure caused by their posts, dismisses any legal ramifications of their actions, and even goes so far as to offer him a payment plan on the cost to take down the embarrassing post. Baitmymate has victimized people all over the country in similar fashion, and appears to be doing so with impunity.
Baitmymate.com is registered through Moniker Privacy Services, a domain registration company that refuses, absent legal compulsion, to reveal the true identity of the web domain registrant. The IP address associated with the site has been linked to Panama, but may originate elsewhere.
Thanks to a story by Brandi Kruse at KIRO 97.3 FM, the Department of Justice is currently investigating scams such as this.
If you are a victim of an internet-based crime, file a complaint with the IC3 (Internet Crime Complaint Center).