CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- Chesterfield Police Spokesperson Liz Caroon said police have now received four reports from adult women saying they received inappropriate text messages from someone they didn’t know.
And, CBS 6 viewers in other areas said they have received them as well.
Those messages show a man’s penis.
“It was a shocker,” Joyce Smith, who received an inappropriate text, said.
Smith said she was still reeling from the message showing a man’s genitals.
"I was shocked to receive something like this, I`ve never received something like this,” Smith said.
Smith sat down to eat when a text popped up on her phone.
“You couldn`t see a face or anything,” Smith said.
Smith said she didn’t respond, but if she had, she said she would have said the following:
“If you`re sending this to me, I just want to come back and say, 'Is that all you got?'” Smith said.
Smith said she reported the incident to the Essex County Sheriff’s Department, and they told her she was not the first person to file such a report.
Sent with App?
Police are not releasing the phone numbers, but some of the victims gave us the numbers.
We shared those numbers with Patrick Siewert, who owns Pro Digital Forensic Consulting.
“I have no record of the numbers at all in an investigative database that I have access to,” Siewert said.
Siewert said he believes the calls were made with a free app used to send texts from spoof or hoax numbers.
“Text plus assigns its own number when you install the app,” Siewert said.
Siewert recommends not responding to the texts, and blocking the number.
As of Wednesday afternoon, WTVR CBS 6 had heard from at least 16 women and one man who said they had received the same illicit photo.
Heather Mallory opened up on the WTVR CBS 6 Facebook page about the message she received. She said she posted the following message online after receiving the unsolicited aggravation early Saturday morning.
"So I had an interesting morning. I got a call at 6:50am and it said "restricted", so I didn't answer. Then 2 minutes later I got a penis pic sent to me from a # I didn't recognize 804-292-****. Lol I sent a text back "who is this? "... I said "I think you sent your pic to the wrong #." He said "OMG sweet I **** **** myself now. Are you married bab?" Lol So I then said "leave me alone please. "
Various women said they or women they know had received the same messages over the past few weeks and months.
Lisa Lay Puster said she received one of the photos a month ago from a number with no caller ID. Thirty seconds later, she received a "text with the picture." She said the text arrived at 7:30 a.m. and came from a number with an 804 area code.
"This happened to my daughter a few months ago. I blocked the number on her phone...," Sheri Copeland wrote on the WTVR CBS 6 Facebook page. "I hope they catch them!"
One woman said she personally knows multiple victims -- and that they all received the offending pic from the same phone number.
"This happened to my mother and 3 other ladies I know all from the same number," Jennifer Lynn wrote. "When I did reverse phone lookup dozens of women were reporting that they were having the same issues with the same number. So how is it that he is able to still do this? Seems very sketchy."
Social media response to the story varied online. Some users offered advice about how to block numbers from smartphone. However, other users pointed out that for older phones, wireless carriers may charge users a fee to block a number.
"When it comes to kids/teens who all have access to cell phones it's actually really not that funny at all," Lynn said. "This is a prime example of what's wrong with society. All of you immediately went into joke mode and dismissed the real issue which is protecting innocent minds from being exposed to something they didn't ask to be!"
If you have received one of these messages, email firstname.lastname@example.org. You should also call your local police department to file a report.