Cyber ‘Sextortion’ Scams: Filipino Women Extort Money From Victims Online

Philippine police, backed by Interpol, say they have arrested 58 suspected members of a cyber-sex extortion syndicate. Users worldwide were lured into exposing themselves via webcams and then blackmailed.

Cyber sextortion generally refers to using sexual images (obtained either through enticement or malicious code) in order to extort money from unsuspecting military and civilian victims.

In November 2012, the security team for Facebook – the world’s largest social networking site – identified a major sextortion ring operating out of the Philippines.

Syndicate members posing as attractive women used social media to trick online users overseas into exposing their bodies or having cybersex.

Such acts were videoed online by the extortionists, typically from images sent by webcams attached to the user’s computer devices. The recordings were made “unknown to the victim,”

While cyber criminals will continue to plague social networking websites and look for unsuspecting victims, there are measures that can be taken to avoid becoming a victim of these types of scams.

Recordings used for blackmail

The extortionists then threatened to send those recordings to relatives and friends of each user, unless they paid via money transfer remittance companies.

Interpol’s Singapore-based digital crime investigator Sanjay Virmani said hundreds of extortion victims were located in Asia, Europe and the United States.

The scale of these extortion networks is massive and run with just one goal in mind — to make money regardless of the terrible emotional damage they inflict on their victims.

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