Such frauds are commonly noticed on online dating platforms and video call services, all of which saw a surge in user responses during the lazy Covid times. (Representational image)
Hyderabad: Receiving an incoming video call from an unknown number? Think twice before answering it, warns the city cybercrime cell. Fraudsters trap victims with such tricks and blackmail them with screenshots and morphed images.
Several such cases were reported from the city, the latest victim being a resident of Narsingi who lost Rs 55,000 to one such racket.
Officials said conmen would send a video call from a woman on WhatsApp to random numbers. Those who pick the call would find the woman semi-naked. "If the victim reciprocates in a similar fashion, they record the video and threaten to post it on social media. They ask the victim to alternatively pay a huge sum to them."
Such frauds are commonly noticed on online dating platforms and video call services, all of which saw a surge in user responses during the lazy Covid pandemic season.
In the recent case in Narsingi, attending a WhatsApp video call from an anonymous number cost the 30-year-old Rs 55,000. He first saw a blank video on the screen without any audio and the call got abruptly cut. However, a few minutes later, he got a message that showed a morphed pornographic video of him. The threat from the other side was he would share the video with his contacts he was paid the money he had demanded.
ACP of Cyber Crimes Hyderabad, KVM Prasad, said most fraudsters trap their victims via Facebook, exchange WhatsApp numbers and proceed to set up the video call.
"Change your privacy settings on Facebook and hide your friends list, which remains open by default. The scamsters create a fake profile using photos of women and add you on Facebook. Once they gain your trust and exchange phone numbers, they make the video call and encourage the victim to undress. By screen-recording the same, they start blackmailing," explained the official.
In most cases, they target reputable and financially sound persons who can afford to pay huge ransom.