Sextortion racket: Phone users must be vigilant, report promptly - The Tribune India

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Sextortion racket

Phone users must be vigilant, report promptly

Sextortion racket

Photo for representation. File photo



THE busting of a multi-crore sextortion racket, in which an elderly man of Haryana’s Bhiwani was last month blackmailed into paying Rs 36.84 lakh in two instalments to swindlers operating on WhatsApp, highlights the vulnerability of crores of smartphone users to various kinds of fraud. This instance holds a lesson to phone users: to be wary of the calls similar to those that the hapless victim received, for it is now a common modus operandi employed in the virtual world of crime. According to reports, when he answered a video call, he saw a woman undressing. He then received a video clip with his face morphed on that of the person who was with the woman. It was followed by threatening calls by the fraudsters posing as police officials, asking for money.

The case also throws light on the way in which people can protect not only themselves from being targeted by online sharks but also save many others from falling prey to the gangs of tech-savvy fraudsters by helping the police catch them. The victim saved himself from shelling out a further Rs 20 lakh as he finally chose to confide in his family, which approached the police. Within three weeks, the cops had nabbed eight suspects and seized 19 mobile phones and found leads to around Rs 3 crore extorted by the gang by making calls to 728 persons across various states.

It is vital for people to be vigilant as cybercrime grew by a whopping 61 per cent between 2022 and 2023, with over Rs 10,000 crore lost to it in the past three years. Along with investment and banking frauds, sextortion is among the top cybercrimes nationwide, with Haryana’s Nuh emerging as a hub of such illegal activities.

#Bhiwani #WhatsApp


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