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Watch out for sextortion scams

By Anil Rachamalla

Social media creates an opportunity for young women and men living in socially conservative societies to be able to communicate, meet and engage in forbidden intimacies and forbidden behaviour. Men are being contacted on Instagram and WhatsApp by women having attractive profile pictures. They lure the unsuspecting men with sweet talk and gradually, persuade them to do a nude video call. When the victim calls, they record the entire episode and start blackmailing him for money, threatening to share the video clips with relatives and friends on social media.

Taking advantage of people’s fear of having intimate moments exposed, scammers are extorting money by threatening them. Sextortion scams are dangerous and may lead to suicides with the fear of social defamation.

Sextortion happens via (1) social media (social networking, online video games, and video chat platforms). (2) Dating Apps (including OkCupid, Tinder, TanTan, and Locanto). (3) Bitcoin and email phishing (sending out random emails claiming to have sex recordings).

How to identify a sextortion scam:

  • Scammers are usually quite adept at copying stuff (fancy profiles) from other websites and using them
  • There are discrepancies between their dating and other public profiles
  • Declaring love at first sight
  • Interested in engaging in intimate activities online
  • Sending short links to their profiles
  • Create fake stories like family members…

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