After guards responded to the incident in the lobby, several surveillance officers gathered and wondered aloud if a tape of Rice and Palmer could be sold to TMZ—the Web site that, since its inception, in 2005, has taken a merciless approach to celebrity news.At around ., one of the surveillance officers, sitting at a monitoring-room computer, reviewed footage from a camera that faced the elevator and, using a cell phone, surreptitiously recorded the screen. It was the middle of the night in Los Angeles, where TMZ is based, so a message was left on the tip line. On September 29, 2015, an internal e-mail summarizing tips from the previous night referred to “info regarding George Clooney’s wedding,” “a video of a pro athlete getting attacked by a goat,” and “pictures of Meek Mill being incarcerated.” (The e-mail is one of many that were leaked to ) The tip line also recorded a claim that a major pop star “wears a fake booty in her music videos” and employs a “person who makes the fake butts.”Many tipsters ask to be paid, and the site often complies.In the early-morning hours of February 15, 2014, Ray Rice and his fiancée, Janay Palmer, stepped into an elevator at the Revel hotel and casino, in Atlantic City.Palmer and Rice, a running back for the Baltimore Ravens, were arguing as the doors slid shut.Some are quite obvious: one trick is to offer you cash to put money through your bank account.Others are less so: one ingenious new trick capitalises on the green trend by asking investors to put their money into something called carbon credits. You get a call from someone posing as your bank or the police.
Alternatively, they may have fiddled with your personal details — such as your age, address, job or information about past claims — to get a cheaper price.
In October, 2014, TMZ received an e-mail that, under the subject heading “Drake at Stadium Club in D. Please call me for price.” Fifty-nine minutes after a producer forwarded the tip to colleagues, TMZ posted a clip showing the rapper accidentally dropping thousands of dollars outside a Washington strip club.
(In a message to a TMZ staff member, the source asked to be paid five thousand dollars.) Russ Weakland, a former TMZ producer, told me that he sometimes negotiated payments with tipsters who were anxious about releasing sensitive information.
They then charge you more and pocket the difference.
Before you know it, £75,000 of a £100,000 pot has gone. The City regulator and HM Revenue & Customs are concerned and hundreds of fraudsters have already been blacklisted.