WhatsApp scam: Picking up a video call on WhatsApp or Messenger from an unknown number may cost you dearly!

 | 
e

A 35-year-old Delhi University professor recently received a video call on Facebook Messenger from an anonymous number. As soon as he picked up the call a naked girl appeared on the other side. Before he could hang up the call, cybercriminals made a video of the professor watching a porn clip and his harassment began.

e

The professor said that "Around 2 in the afternoon I got a call from an unknown person on Facebook Messenger. When I got the call, I saw a naked girl. I immediately disconnected the call. However, before I could find out, What actually happened is, I found some screenshots of my video call on Messenger."

Panicked, he immediately blocked the user. After an hour, the professor received an audio call, where another person asked him to pay Rs 20,000 through a digital payment app within five minutes, otherwise, he would share these screenshots for his community of friends and family to see. 

"I was terrified and deactivated my Facebook account. Nothing has happened since that night, but I'm still worried," he said.

Such anonymous video calls on WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger are on the rise in India and the authorities concerned are unable to stop such activities.

According to cyber experts, the notorious gangs of Mewat region with mobile fraud like Jamtara have come to the fore again, blackmailing people through such WhatsApp video calling and extorting extortion from them.

These gangs are active in the Mewat region of Haryana. Apart from this, Bhiwadi, Tijara, Kishangarh Bas, Ramgarh, Laxmangarh in Alwar, and Nagar, Pahari, and Govindgarh in Bharatpur are also the main areas from where these cyber thugs are operating. In October, the Crime Branch of Delhi Police claimed to have arrested the mastermind of an interstate sextortion gang from Bharatpur in Rajasthan.

According to the police, the gang led by Nasir (25) has been involved in extorting money from eminent persons by blackmailing them with their obscene pictures and videos. Alwar Police has busted at least 36 gangs and arrested 600 accused in the 'sextortion' case.

e

In the pandemic, there has been a surge in such activities. Cybercriminals play recorded pornographic videos and then send your recordings back to you, demanding money which can be anywhere from Rs 10,000 to a few lakhs.

"If denied, they threaten to share your obscene video in your social media circles and the mental harassment starts," independent cyber security researcher Rajasekhar Rajhariya told IANS.

A Delhi-NCR journalist faced a similar situation this month when he received a WhatsApp video call and saw a naked girl. Shocked as well as confused, he immediately disconnected the call. They later found some screenshots as well as a video of the person making the call.

“The person told me that he was going to send these videos to everyone on social media and asked me to pay Rs 23,000 immediately to remove the videos. I blocked him but then, I got calls from unknown numbers. They started coming and I was asked to transfer money. I blocked them and switched off my phone for a few hours." Later he did not get any further calls.

According to Rajhariya, if you do not respond to their demands immediately, chances are that they will not share your obscene video with others, as doing so will put them in trouble if the person goes to the cyber police with their contact details