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    'Extortion Scheme' Prompts Sheriff to Remove Mug Shots From Website

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    Geo Beats

    by Geo Beats

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    The Pinellas County, Florida sheriff announced that he will be removing all mug shots from the department’s website, as they are being used in an extortion scheme.

    Mug shots are generally included by Police departments across the country when disseminating information about various crimes.

    The Pinellas County, Florida sheriff announced that he will be removing all mug shots from the department’s website, as they are being used in an extortion scheme.

    Not long ago he discovered that the site’s ‘Who’s In Jail’ page was being used by several private companies looking to cash in on the arrest documentation.

    Mugshots.com and justmugs.com are among the businesses that would republish the photos and records on the Internet. They would then contact the individuals in them and demand money in return for their removal.

    Prices ranged between 400 and 17 hundred dollars.

    Calling out the practice as extortion, the sheriff decided to his part to stop it and cut off their access to his county’s information.

    He said of his decision, “The reposting of their booking photo isn't illegal, but charging a fee to remove it is unconscionable, verging on blackmail and clearly taking advantage of someone's circumstances.”

    In accordance with state laws, he will continue to provide booking photos on request.