How To Avoid Extortion by Criminals Using Whatsapp – Rafael Carreon

The Attorney General’s Office in Mexico has recently seen an uptick in extortion attempts using Whatsapp. Criminals threaten to harm the victim’s family if the contacted victim doesn’t delete the Whatsapp application, and register the app under a hijacked platform. The criminals then call the victim’s family, using the number to attempt to persuade the family members that they are in possession of the victim, and require a ransom. They send messages, videos and pictures to the victim’s loved ones, using the victim’s Whatsapp account. Many of the criminal gangs use social network information to gather information on the intended victim beforehand, and use that information to further persuade the family that they have kidnapped the victim. Prevention Methods:

  • Hang up if you receive an extortion attempt. Do not answer if you receive a message. Always note the
  • Report the incident to the authorities, and attempt to contact the supposed victim through other methods.
  • Avoid putting personal information on social networks that could be used by criminals to convince loved ones of your identity.
  • Maintain a separate messaging system used ONLY by loved ones that can be used in emergency situations to identify the whereabouts of each member.
  • Always notify loved ones of where you are going (with estimated times), BEFORE leaving your house or office.
  • Role play extortion attempts with loved ones (including minors who answer the phone), so that no one is overly vulnerable should a real situation arise.