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What Are Cybercriminals Doing? Stealing Your Private Photos!

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Cybercriminals seem to be targeting users' private photos at the moment. The question of "Why?" remains unanswered. However, it is obvious such theft can cause many problems, which might require law enforcement to step in with an investigation.

To "steal" someone else's photos, all one needs to do is access the victim's social media profile and click "Download" or "Save As". Normally, photos that one wants to actively share with the world can be viewed. As for other photos that are more private in nature, they are exclusively intended for family members or a close circle of friends. It is precisely such images that cybercriminals can now obtain by expanding on previous scam methods. 

There are serious consequences

The modus operandi of the scam should already be familiar to many, as it is one of the most widespread fraud methods in this era. It is known as the "grandchild scam". Initially, SMS messages are randomly sent or specifically targeting potential victims. They are asked to save the new number using their child or grandchild's name and to contact them via WhatsApp.

Subsequently, the perpetrators will then share a story about a broken or lost smartphone, thus explaining the new phone number. This is followed by a casual conversation that culminates in a request for a money transfer or bill settlement. Of course, the alleged child or grandchild promises to repay the money at a later date.

So far, this has remained unspectacular. However, the scammers have now come up with something new. According to information from the Watchlist portal, the perpetrators will also now ask for your personal photos, "Do you have any photos of me? I've lost everything," the scammers write in a WhatsApp chat.

The purpose of asking for personal photos is not clear. However, it is likely they will be used for fake social network profiles or classified ad portals. Identity theft in this form can have serious consequences and even prompt authorities to take action. From the authorities' perspective, it initially seems as if the victim of identity theft is the actual perpetrator.

Victims must file a report

Investigations into cybercrime cases at the consumer level normally do not yield any results. Nevertheless, it is recommended to file a report. The reason behind doing so? If the stolen photos are used in the future for identity theft, the filed report can help prove one's innocence.

Furthermore, you should inform your parents and grandparents in advance about the grandchild scam, while focusing on never sending money without a prior phone call. Try not to change your phone number too often and stick to one number as long as possible. Cybercriminals are already experimenting with AI voice imitations. Currently, this lies more within the scope of the shock call scam.

Have you received such scam calls before? Did you troll them or hang up right away?

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Artem Sandler

Artem Sandler
Editor

Artem is interested in all kinds of technological marvels — from electric cars to smartphones and smart rings. That's why he studied technical journalism and innovation communication. He is also interested in niche topics like cybercrime and data security. He was no doubt disturbed at the dystopian future after watching sci-fi films before, but after studying, he realized that truth is stranger than fiction.

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