Warning – Skype Blackmail Scam
If something looks
too good to be true then, quite often, it’s not true. Last month we acted for
two very young sportsmen who learned that lesson the hard way. Both young men
were approached online (via Instagram) by two (different) attractive looking
women based in Lebanon and Ghana (respectively). Both women asked the young players
to have a conversation on Skype. Both women removed their clothes during the
conversation and both women invited the young players to remove their own
clothes during the conversation.
Once the conversations were over both young players received direct messages stating that the whole conversations had been recorded and that the videos would be published online unless between $4,000 and $10,000 was transferred via Western Union.
It was a classic, and horrid, sting blackmail.
Both young players were targeted because they were sportsmen representing well known clubs. The blackmailers threatened to post the videos on fan sites and forums and to expose them in the most cruel way imaginable. Because the gangs had found the players on social media, that meant they had access to their list of “friends” and they threatened to send a link to the video to all of those friends. One video was uploaded to YouTube. We had it removed, and the user banned, within an hour but it was all hugely unpleasant stuff.
The scams are, sadly, common. Criminal gangs operating out of regions such as Russia, the Far East, West Africa and the Middle East, target individuals who they believe are susceptible to blackmail.
During idle moments on tour, or quiet times in the off-season, be very careful online. Do not give out any personal information. Do not share intimidate details, thoughts or photos/chats with anyone you don’t know and, if you are concerned at any time about people who have approached you online, talk to those you trust – your family, your club, your PDM and, of course, our firm will happily help you out on an urgent basis with the full support of the PCA.
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