Some residents of Dubai have fallen victims of sexual blackmail after they were lured into having video chats via apps on social networking sites such as Badoo Facebook and Skype, according to the Arabic daily ‘Emarat Al Youm’.
The newspaper said the victims didn’t realise that they were being trapped by professional gangs lured men to appear naked in the front of webcams, recorded the scenes and then blackmailed them.
A source at the Department of Computer Crime of Dubai Police revealed to Emarat Al Youm that the department had received several complaints from extortion victims.
One of the victims told Emarat Al Youm newspaper that he was involved in a relationship with a ‘woman’ through the Badoo website which allows dating people near the places they live.
“I discovered later that the woman, who claimed to be a divorcee, was actually a man who used to lure men into sex, record the scenes and then blackmail them,” he said.
He said that when he spoke to ‘her’ for some time, she tried to obtain his personal information and asked him to talk to her via Skype.
“I was so happy with the chance I got that I naively walked into the trap. He showed me an indecent video of a woman to convince me that he is indeed a woman,” he said.
“She asked me to strip naked in the front of her but I refused at the beginning but later agreed to undress partially. While I was talking to her, she put on a video of him naked on YouTube. She sent me the link and asked me to take a look at the video and I was shocked when I saw myself naked. It was then that I realised that the other party was filming me,” the victim added.
He said when he threatened the ‘woman’ with whom he was chatting that he will inform the police, the other party revealed that he is a man and does not care whether he reported the matter to the police or not.
He added that the man told him that he had planned everything from the beginning and then threatened to publish his naked video if he did not pay him Dh10,000.
“When I refused to pay, he threatened to publish the video in my Facebook and Twitter accounts and send it to my friends and family,” the victim said.
Meanwhile, another victim was more cautious when he received a message via Facebook from a woman newly added to his list of friends. She had affixed a photo of a beautiful woman on her profile and sent a message asking him to have video chat via Facebook .
He said: “After a while, she asked me to make a video call on Skype which I accepted. She then asked me to take off my clothes but I did not respond to the request because I had begun to have doubts about her.
“She tried to seduce me but I refused to take off my clothes and asked her what did she want. I was surprised when the other party revealed himself and said: ‘I'm young and I need money’.
“I refused to respond to him which forced him to leave me and that was after he realised that he had failed to blackmail me,” the second victim said.
Another victim said that he received a request for adding from a girl on Facebook and said he accepted her friendship.
“I was surprised when she was starting enquiring about my job and my ID and asked me to talk to her via Skype.
"I realised it is a scam and tried to respond to the fraudster to get more information before informing the police but he stopped messaging me,” the third ‘victim’ said..
A source in the Department of Combating Cybercrimes at Dubai Police said they had received complaints of extortion from victims who are supposedly mature men. Even elderly men have been filmed in indecent positions and then blackmailed.
The source said “there are people courageous enough to inform the police so that we can curb these extortionists but those who are reluctant to inform the police often become victims of blackmail.”
He stressed that Dubai Police is dealing with such cases in confidentiality because it understands that even mature people may sometimes make such mistakes. “Silence is the biggest mistake since it will help the villains to trap new victims,” he added.
Blackmail or extortion is psychologically damaging for the victim and may even destroy families. “Some victims turn to the police after they realise that blackmailing does not end with one payment, he added.
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