By-Sasanka Talukdar

Next time when you make ‘Friends’ on dating apps or any social media platform – beware! Online fraudsters have adopted new tricks of sextortion to dupe and blackmail people.The cyber tricksters make video calls to their ‘targets’ on Instagram, Facebook or WhatsApp after getting their numbers during their chat.

They put a woman’s photo as a profile photo and chat with the victims and express their desire to speak to them over video calls. When a victim agrees, he gets a call from the ‘woman’, and on answering the call, he sees her in a nude state with face covered or the video gets paused and one can only hear the voice. These online fraudsters make video calls on random numbers in which a nude woman chats with the targeted victim. The fraudsters record the victims chatting with the woman using the screen recording application and then send the video to the victims with a threat to pay money or else they would share their chatting video on social media platforms. 

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Assam’s Salbari SDPO Sameeran Baishya said, “In most of the cases, I have seen a common pattern. A fake account is created in the name of a woman who sends friend requests to random girls on Facebook. Once the friend request is accepted, both parties start talking and numbers are exchanged.”

“After the exchange of numbers, the fake account holder starts video calling the victim either on Messenger or on WhatsApp and befriends the victim. Upon creating a friendly atmosphere, the predator persuades the victim to display private parts of the body which are recorded. Later, the culprit starts threatening to share the videos online unless they receive a payment,”

“In the virtual world, the thumb rule is you should not believe the person with whom you are talking to. S/He could be a cybercrook. But most of the complainants made that mistake and blindly believed the person on the other side.”

He alerted people that the victims should inform the police immediately keeping aside fear and doubt ehich will help in nabbing the culprits ( online fraudsters ).
He also urged people not to receive WhatsApp video calls coming from unidentified numbers. It is important to never share personal photos or videos with strangers over phone or online.

While speaking to the Times of Northeast, a victim said, “A girl I met on Facebook asked me if I can share my Whatsapp number after a few days of chatting on massanger. I did it and she started the conversation and after a while she sent me an errotic image of her. After some chats she told me that she want to have a video conversation with me, which I agreed. But few seconds after the call a male identify showed up in the phone screen and asked me to provide them money.They told me that they had captured and prepared a naked video conversation of mine with that women. Now they are blackmailing me to release that video on Facebook and demanded Rs 10000.” “Later, I immediately informed the police and submitted a complaint latter at Police Station.” he added.

Another victim said, “A girl sent me a friend request, I accepted it. She called me through the messenger. On receiving the call, I saw a naked girl on the screen. I knew something went wrong. Suddenly, I blocked the girl and reported the facebook account. Luckily my front camera was not working at that time due to a software issue.”

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As per reports, many such incidents happened in the state. Some people shy away from complaining for fear of their reputation.

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