Cyber Extortion Cases Up by 47 Per Cent in First Half of the Year as Online Activity Picks Up
The Straits Times
Republished with Permission
4 September 2022
Mr Chong Ee Jay, a cyber wellness expert at Focus on the Family Singapore, said perpetrators would never ask for revealing photos at the onset, but instead set about developing a relationship with victims first to make them feel at ease so they would eventually let their guard down.
He cited one case last year, when a girl approached him for advice regarding her classmate.
Her classmate, a Secondary 4 girl, had started talking to a man on Instagram and they exchanged many flirtatious messages.
"After three months of talking, the man asked her for photos of herself. It did not start with nude photos, but ones where she was dressed provocatively, and she gave him those photos," said Mr Chong.
The man subsequently asked for nude photos and she refused.
"He then threatened to send the provocative photos he had to her school, to the newspapers and to pornographic sites if she did not pay him $1,000," said Mr Chong.
The girl made a police report.
"This girl had just broken up with her boyfriend so she was posting quite often on social media. Similarly, some other victims may talk about their heartbreak online, in the hopes of getting some form of comfort and validation," he explained.
"But that vulnerability may draw the attention of perpetrators, who may want to exploit them."
Mr Chong is worried there may be more of such cases.
"Technological advancement means that perpetrators may seek new ways to exploit and engage victims... My concern is that more young people are using technology and its platforms, so more of them could be exploited."