Honeypot & Sextortion — #NextBigThing in CyberCrime

Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash

There has been a drastic decrease in the number of OTP related scams in the past two months than the preceding year. This is directly proportional to the humongous efforts taken by stakeholders such as Banks, Law Enforcement and the general public. And, all credits to RBI’s circulars & guidelines.

So, do I call it a victory? Certainly not. The #OTP related scams and frauds have not been reduced due to strict laws or enforcement of the same. It has reduced because end-users are now vigilant to an extend, and the scammers have moved to the #nextbigthing in the #cyberfraud industry — #honeypot #sextortion.

Modus Operandi:

1) scammer creates a fake profile and sends requests to social media profiles of a particular individual (target victim) who have it either as a public profile or as a private profile.

2) Scammer does not interact with the target victim but waits for a week and collect possible data (close friends, listed family members, tagged friends, etc)

3) Scammer attempts to contact the target victim and talks intimately. Invites for a #WhatsApp call.

4) Scammer makes a call using VoIP services or WhatsApp. Lures the victim to a video call chat and proceeds to show a video of undressing and calls upon the victim to do the same. If the target victim does what is being said, the call is dropped after 5 minutes.

5) Scammer sends a screen recorded version of the nude chat or video chat and shows the target victim a sample video clip or a photo.

6) Scammer now reveals themselves that he/she is a scammer and knows complete details of his family and close friends and shares a screenshot of all the close friends and family members listed.

7) Scammer demands a higher amount of cash from the target victim, says that will publish the video on Facebook or youtube and share it with the list of close friends and family members.

8) scammer makes repeated calls during the late night (with the intent of disclosing and causing suspicion among family members)
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9) target victim pays a token amount or whatever is arrangeable and pleads to be left alone.

10) depending upon the clarity of recorded content and the status of the target victim, the scammer keeps on pressing for more money, and when the scammer cannot get any more money, he either publishes the link once and for all or keeps using this same threat to get more money.

This modus operandi is used on a wide range of people without any remorse. And, all this is possible over the simple fact of guilt, “what if my wife or mother sees my nude video on the internet?”, “what if my employer sees this on the internet?”, “How will I show my face to the outside world now?”, and, unfortunately, this moral turpitude comes in handy for the scammer and they make hay when the sun is shining, and in this case, the sun is smouldering money for the scammer.

Have you had anyone in your circle become a victim?

Cyber Crime Advocate. Practicing in Madras High Court & District Court of Coimbatore.