We’ve heard of stories about crooks scheming online, using various methods to deceive unsuspecting Internet users and Skype is one of the social media platforms that is used for this purpose. Skype, released since 2003, is easily taken advantage of since calls and messages can be made to strangers for free.
Recently in Malaysia, a Filipino girl blackmailed a man who had previously shown her his naked body on Skype and she threatened to release the video to the public.
Kelvin Chong, a married 37-year-old, first met the young Filipino online through Tagged, a social network site, and they subsequently became friends on Facebook. A seemingly innocent friendship soon took a turn when she requested to see him naked on Skype in exchange for exposing her own body. Kelvin lost a total of RM3,300 when the girl was not satisfied with the initial transfer of RM2,500.
Image credit: MCA
Datuk Seri Michael Chong (picture above) held a press conference and showed pictures of the Filipino girl who called herself Sarah Mae.
This is not the first occurrence of such a scam, in April this year a hotel employee from Bintawa, Kuching also fell victim to sexual extortion. He, however, was unable to pay the RM5,000 requested and the video was then uploaded online. According to Dr. Amirudin Abdul Wahab, the chief executive officer of CyberSecurity Malaysia, cyber blackmail is usually aimed at teenage boys and middle-aged men, and most perpetrators are usually foreigners.
To better educate and create a sense of awareness among Skype users, here are some types of scams being made via Skype that everyone should watch out for.
1. Romance Scams
The victim will be given the false impression that the scammer is genuinely interested in having a relationship with him/her. Proclamations of love and promises will be given by the scammer to gain the victim’s trust. In the midst of the blossoming relationship, the scammer will suddenly cry for help in either a family situation or a financial problem, catching the victim off-guard.
Crystal Schwanke from LoveToKnow has highlighted 5 signs of dating fraud:
a. Premature declarations of love
b. Requests for money
c. Foreign email addresses
d. Fake photos
e. Language usage problems
2. Advertising Scams
No, Google is most certainly not going to pay you every month for just sitting at home and staring at the computer. You can probably be sure that anything which promises you a certain amount of money every hour and then asks you to fill up a form with your personal information is a fraud.
3. Sob Story Scams
These sob stories try to appeal to your kind heart and gullible nature by requesting you to send money to a dying family member or a child who needs education fees or an abandoned orphan. As much as you want to help, always first check the legitimacy and validity of the story.
4. Inheritance Scams
Look, chances are there is no wealthy CEO of an extremely successful company who just recently passed away and you are randomly selected by his staff to send you 50% of his total funds. There is no quick way to gain money, so Mr. William Hopkins or Mr. John Smith is lying. Don’t fall for it.
Image credit: Identitytheftsecrets
Also read: Skype kills or Skype heals?