Investigation launched in possible human trafficking texting scam

Grand Strand Crime

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – Eight women received text messages in the last week promising a large sum of money for a local amateur photo shoot.

“From the start I realized that something was wrong,” said May Barr, a Myrtle Beach woman who received the texts on Sunday.

The scammer poses as a Victoria’s Secret modeling recruiter while soliciting photos and information from potential victims.

“They’re also asking for setting a time to meet for a lingerie photo shoot. I realized that this is more dangerous than what I thought,” said Barr.

The fake recruiter says once photos and a background check are approved a model will pose in lingerie for a local photo shoot that will pay $300,000.

Barr humored the scammer in effort to gather as much information as she could to report to police.

She originally went to the Myrtle Beach Police Department to file a report, but one wasn’t made as no crime had been committed.

“She only advised me that I can tell my friends and family about it. Post about it on Facebook and that’s exactly what I did,” said Barr.

Seven other women responded to Barr’s post saying they too had received the texts.

News 13 reached out to the Coastal Region Human Trafficking Task Force about the scam.

Several jurisdictions along the Grand Strand make up the task force including the Horry County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office said in a statement:

“We always encourage people to report anything they believe to be suspicious to their local law enforcement agency.  If you see something, say something.”

A joint investigation has now been launched by the sheriff’s office and Myrtle Beach Police Department.

Authorities are asking anyone who received the scam texts to report it to local police.

“If you get a message like this, don’t take it lightly. Don’t make jokes about it or just brush it off. Please be proactive. Again, because this could be something that you realize is a scam, but somebody else with less experience it can destroy their lives,” said Barr.

News 13 reached out to the corporate office of Victoria’s Secret for a statement and are still waiting to hear back.

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