Scam Alert: Sextortion & Extortion – Don’t Get Scammed By WhatsApp Video Calls

While social media has several benefits, such online platforms have also become a hub for hackers, criminals, fraudsters and scamsters. There are multiple cases everyday where people have been duped of their hard-earned money. Moreover, the mental agony suffered in the process is far more hurting for the victims. Here we will analyze in detail how these sextortion and extortions scams are executed through online platforms and what you can do to safeguard yourself and your loved ones.

WhatsApp video call scam – The modus operandi is quite simple in WhatsApp video call scams. You get a video call on WhatsApp, most likely from a lady. As soon as you pick up the video call, your mobile screen is recorded at the other end. The scamsters then edit the video and show you in naked form. Later, you will start getting calls from the scamsters demanding money. They will show you the morphed video and tell you that it will be shared with your family and friends and online if you do not pay the ransom money.

In a similar type of scam through WhatsApp video call, you may be lured into entering a video conversation with a beautiful looking lady. Cases of handsome looking men calling women have also been reported. During the conversation, she may take off her clothes and ask you to do the same. As soon as you do that, your entire video without the clothes is recorded. The scamsters then use this video to blackmail you.

Facebook video call scam – Here too, the same modus operandi is used by scamsters. The only difference is that on Facebook, the scamsters may have managed to create some common friends. They might post comments on your friend’s posts or like it. All these activities will make you believe that you are dealing with a genuine person. So, when you receive a video call, you won’t suspect them of being a scamster. But once your video is recorded, the scamsters will start with their sextortion process.

Dating app scams – Here also, you may be lured into intimate conversations through video chats. The scamsters will demand money and threaten you about sharing your nude video with your family and friends.

Should you pay the ransom?

The scamsters may initially ask you to pay a small amount as ransom. Many people pay the money to avoid unnecessary hassles. However, you should note that the sextortion will continue as long as you are willing to pay. The scamsters have no sense of morality and they will continue to extort money from you till your last penny. Many people have lost their entire savings in such scams.

For people who refuse to pay, the scamsters deploy a different technique. You might get a call from a person impersonating as a police officer. They will tell you that your nude video has been found on internet and a police case will be filed against you. Due to fear of police, many people who did not pay earlier agree to pay the ransom.

Why mainstream media does not cover sextortion scams?

Mainstream media can publish sextortion scams, but to do that, it first needs to be reported. A significant percentage of sextortion scams on WhatsApp, Facebook, dating sites and apps and other messaging platforms go unreported. This is because the victims offer suffer from a deep sense of shame and guilty. They also do not want their story to be known to their friends and associates. As such, these sextortion cases are not usually published. But in reality, such sextortion scams are quite common across the web.

How to avoid sextortion on WhatsApp, Facebook and dating sites?

First, never respond to a video call from an unknown number. If you think it may be important, you can later call the number via a voice call. A video call from an unknown number is itself a sign of trouble.

Second, do not be tempted to get intimate with a person online whom you have never met. This applies to both men and women. Scamsters may sweet talk you into believing them, but don’t be fooled. Insist on meeting the person at a restaurant or other public place before you take things forward.

Educate your children about sextortion

If your child is in their teens or early college years, it is important to educate them about online sextortion scams. Scamsters can target the young, as they may have a greater sense of shame and guilt. Such experience can be extremely painful for them. By educating them about WhatsApp video call scams and other similar scams on Facebook, dating sites, etc., you can protect them from scamsters.

What can sextortion victims do?

Paying the ransom is not an option, as the scamsters will continue to demand more money every other day. The only option is to approach your police station and report the incident. The police will take action against the scamsters and they will also take steps to remove any of your videos that may be posted on online platforms. You also have the option to file a police complaint with the National Cyber Crime Reporting Portal. This is available to people from across the country.

As an individual, you must take steps to reduce your stress and feelings of shame and guilt. You can share your experiences with your family and close friends, as it will help reduce the mental pain and suffering. Learning from your experiences will make you a better person. Sharing your experiences will help protect others from undergoing the same nightmare of sextortion.

Do not delete your social accounts

Some victims delete their WhatsApp, Facebook and other social accounts, thinking that it will protect them from fraudsters. However, this may not be the right solution. The conversations on your social platforms will work as evidence, which will help the police to nab the fraudsters. Instead of deleting things, you should provide as much information as available to police.

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