Authorities are warning men to look out for an online scam that involves women seducing them into cybersex and using the images to blackmail them for cash.
Singapore has seen an increase in the online scam artists, who are usually attractive women that “friend” men on Facebook and charm them into undressing or performing sexual acts. Once the images are given to them, they threaten to make them public if the men don’t pay.
More than 50 cases have been reported since 2012, a significant increase from just 11 cases in 2011.
The women reportedly initiate a webcam conversation with the men and undress themselves before convincing the men to undress themselves as well.
In a post on the Singapore Police website, they explained the men are unaware that their actions are being recorded by the scam artist women.
A Singapore TV station created a “reconstruction” of the scam. In it, a young student named Danny accepts a friend request on Facebook from a stranger named Lily.
He chats with Lily on Facebook and soon calls her his “girlfriend.” She convinces him to undress on a webcam before she disappears.
Left confused, Danny receives an email and phone call from a man who demands $50,000 and tells him that if he is not paid, the images will be made public.
Graham Cluley of Web security firm Sophos said that if this scam catches on in other countries, it could involve more than blackmail.
“You can imagine how a man, believing he is being seduced online by a sexy woman, might be all too eager to click on a link she suggests or run a malicious program on his computer. Before he knows it, his computer could be under the control of a hacker,” Cluley said.
Authorities have warned that everyone should be careful about accepting friend requests from strangers and, if they are accepted, to remember that they could gain access to your personal information quite easily.
They also said to contact police if someone demands money.
Cluley has his own, simple advice to offer: “Keep your trousers on, chaps.”