Mideast men targeted by new global cyber gang

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Men are being warned by social networking users about an international gang that is using chat programs such as Skype to lure unsuspecting men into indecently exposing themselves in front of webcams and then blackmailing them.

Jamal A, a 39 year-old father of three, started receiving messages from random accounts on Facebook asking about his age and whether he was married, then requesting him to have a cybersex session on Skype.

After he received this request Jamal blocked the woman, but he kept receiving messages from other accounts, with some users claiming they were from Morocco.

However, while Jamal has always been wary of such messages from strangers on social networking platforms, Saudi Gazette learned that a businessman in Makkah fell into this gang’s trap.

The man, married with three children, received messages through Facebook allegedly from a Moroccan woman asking him to have a cybersex session on Skype.

He did and a few days later the businessman was contacted by the account user, who appeared to be a man threatening to post the video online unless he received money.

The businessman ignored the blackmailer and later on he discovered an account on Facebook with a recording of his cybersex session and his full name with his friends’ contact list.

He reported the incident to Facebook and the account was deactivated, but another one appeared.

The businessman did not report to police, fearing his wife would find out, and until now he is trying to solve the matter.

The cyber gang seems to be recent, as it was only on Saturday that Abu Dhabi Police revealed an international gang was using obscene videos and a dubbed female voice to lure men online and encourage them to perform indecent activities while using a webcam on applications such as Skype.

The criminals take the pictures and record the men’s indecent activities with a webcam and later threaten to post them online, a police press release there said.

The gang will demand money to not post these videos online and the victims end up paying huge amounts to avoid being defamed.

Col. Rashid Mohammad Bourscheid, director of criminal investigation at Abu Dhabi Police, warned the people not to fall prey to such cyber criminals.

Abu Dhabi Police received a number of complaints from victims.

Bourscheid said the gang targeted many men in Gulf states.

He warned the public not to trust strangers online nor respond to suspicious e-mails.

The videotapes showing the girls were “archival” and have nothing to do with the gang members, said Bourscheid.

Abu Dhabi Police have received a number of reports from people who fell victim to this gang, which is based outside of the UAE, said Bourscheid.

After uploading short clips on some free websites, the gang would blackmail them by asking them for money if they wanted the videos removed.

The gang mainly targets young married men via social media websites and services such as Skype and Facebook.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette, on August 26, 2013

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