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Video call & Blackmailing scam (Sextortion)

 

            If you are getting bombarded with unknown WhatsApp video calls from International Numbers, be aware you could be the next victim of video call scam. This scam saw a surge during the COVID-19 wave and it is booming till today and because of the defamation and threat to reputation many victims are not reporting this crime to law enforcement agencies. This type of scam is also called as sextortion. Catfishing, Loan App, Facebook request and WhatsApp video calls are some common sextortion techniques.

Catfishing

                Most sextortion cases are initiated by catfishing, in this type of scam, the scammers impersonates someone else, typically an attractive young woman, a wealthy businessman, or someone with similar interests to the victim. They create fake social media profiles using stolen photos and well-crafted profile descriptions.

 WhatsApp Sextortion

                This scam mostly targeting men, when the person answers the call, they find a half-naked girl on video call. If the victim responds in similar fashion, at that time the scammers record video or take screenshots and will demand money from the victim to prevent the release of the sexual content. They may also threaten to share the captured material with the victim’s family, friends, and colleagues or post it on pornographic websites. These frauds are common on dating apps and other video calling platforms including WhatsApp as well.

Facebook sextortion

              Sextortion on Facebook is very common scam these days, where scammers send friend requests or direct messages to strangers. The scammer engages the victim in conversation, gain their trust and requesting sexually explicit content. Once the victim has shared such material, the scammer will use it as weapon to extort money.

Loan App Sextortion

              In this type of fraud scammers introduce themselves as Officers, Representatives, or Agents of reputed Banks or Financial institutions. They give special loan offer, and will promise to provide hazel free, high amount loans, with very low interest rates instantly. Once victim agree to avail the loan offer, they obtain soft copy of documents such as ID, Photo, Address proof, PAN, Bank Details, Income details etc., from victim through online Along with loan application form. After that they start asking you to deposit money to a particular bank account for the reasons such as File Charges, refundable Security amount, processing fees etc if victim denies to do so they use submitted documents and morphs victim’s photos and starts blackmailing.

Fear is the real torture

           Cyber criminals are skilled at creating fear they use explicit images or screenshots of explicit conversations to intimidate the victim. Moreover, they may find the victim’s social media accounts to find information about their friends and family to make the victim believe that their reputation is in danger and could be destroyed at any moment.

How to protect yourself from these scams: –

1) Do not attend unknown international calls or messages & unknown friend request.

2) Be cautious about the information you share online share as little as you can.

3) Always approach to genuine source for loan or other financial activities.

4) Utilise the privacy settings available on your social media platforms to safeguard your data.

5) Use a nickname when creating a profile this can make challenging for scammers to locate your personal information and uncover details about your friends & family.

What to do if you have been sextorted

           Approach to the nearest Police station and File a complaint as soon as possible since it makes taking action against criminals much easier or you can file online complain on www.cybercrime.gov.in

 

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