Many South African men are being threatened by blackmailers who state they will share nude photos of them online unless they pay up.
According to the Rapport newspaper, numerous men have fallen victim to the scam over the last three months.
The scam, which is conducted via WhatsApp, goes as follows:
- An attractive woman contacts a man via WhatsApp and sends them erotic photos of herself.
- She then asks the man for nude photos of him in return.
- When she receives nude photos, she demands money – with the threat of making the photos public.
Private investigator Mike Bolhuis told Rapport he has handled over 30 cases of blackmail using this tactic this year.
Bolhuis said the initial blackmail amounts start at between R500 and R1,500, but it can escalate – and some of his clients have paid over R50,000 to date.
He said that in most cases the blackmailers are men who use a woman’s photos without their knowledge.
Bolhuis said he is not aware of a case where a woman has fallen for this scam.
This type of scam is not new. In 2015, security firm Trend Micro said Sextortion has been around for many years.
The cybercrime victim is tricked into performing sexual favours online and then the attacker blackmails the victim by threatening to expose the explicit recorded videos, pictures, and chat conversations.
“Because this triggers instant shock and shame, the victim is often left with no choice but to pay the hefty sum,” said Trend Micro.
In 2016 and 2017, hundreds of South Africans fell victim to a naked pics for cash scam.
The South African Community Crime Watch said in January 2017 the victims were contacted by an attractive woman or man via Facebook and WhatsApp.
The scammer then offers to send them naked pictures of themselves if they receive nude pictures from the victim.
If the victim refuses to send naked pictures, the scammer sends them Photoshopped images that depicts the victim, with threats that they will be made public unless a payment is made.