A New Online Scam Is Sending Womens’ Nudes To All Their Phone Contacts
The sextortion racket is said to be targeting women in Victoria.
Victoria Police are warning people to be particularly vigilant online after dozens of women have had explicit and intimate photos leaked as part of a long-running sextortion racket.
Detectives from the state’s cybercrime squad are investigating the scam, which involves hacking social media accounts, accessing private photos and videos, then using this data to blackmail and exploit women.
According to police, victims are often contacted by someone posing as one of their trusted friends, claiming they’re locked out of their social media account and have nominated them to receive a verification code.
However, when victims receive the code, it unlocks their account and allows the offender to search through their device for explicit or compromising images that can be used to blackmail women into sharing more images.
So far, one alleged perpetrator has been linked to at least 34 women since mid-2019, according to Victoria Police.
If you receive a message asking for help gaining access to a social media account — even if it looks to be from someone you trust — do not engage.
Cybercrime squad Detective Inspection Boris Buick has urged anyone who has encountered the scam to come forward with their experiences.
“If you are subject to any type of concerning behaviour like this online, we would urge you to contact police and discuss the circumstances with us.
“Anyone who contacts police will be supported and treated with respect, courtesy and dignity.
“We believe that these matters are underreported and that can be for a range of reasons, including fear or embarrassment, and sometimes feeling unsure if an offence has occurred or if they will be believed.”
Buick also added that victims will be supported, even if they do not wish to lodge a formal complaint.
“I want to assure the community that Victoria Police is committed to investigating these matters and holding offenders to account,” said Buick.
“And as is your choice, if you do choose to share intimate pictures via social media accounts, we would encourage you to review your privacy settings and ensure they’re as stringent as possible.
“We encourage anyone who has been subject to concerning behaviour such as this to speak to police – even if you do not wish to make a formal report, we can still assist you in seeking further support.”
It goes without saying that revenge porn or any sort of digital sexual exploitation is never the victim’s fault — but if you’re regularly sharing intimate images with people online, it’s worth setting up extra security measures like two-factor authentication to reduce the risk of these images ending up in the wrong hands.
Junkee has reached out to Victoria Police for further comment.