Thinking that he'd made some new female friends on TikTok, one man decided to take things a step further by agreeing to video call them — and even stripped naked on camera.
To his horror, these 'friends' of his began demanding for money, threatening to leak his nudes if he did not comply.
The man surnamed Xie, told Shin Min Daily News that he was using TikTok out of boredom last Saturday (March 4). He made friends with a woman on the app, and subsequently began chatting with her on Telegram.
"She suddenly video-called me and stripped on camera; she then asked me to do the same. I refused her request three or four times, but she asked me to show myself nude for a short while, so I stripped," said the 52-year-old.
"She then asked me if I wanted to masturbate. I offered to meet her at a hotel but she rejected me, saying it was expensive."
Xie and the woman were on the video call for four hours.
The next day, Xie met another woman on TikTok, who also asked him to get nude on a video call.
Later in the afternoon, he received a text from the first woman, who said she had Xie's nudes, and wanted $5,000 in exchange for them.
"After she sent me the text message, I received a call from her male companion who demanded that I transfer the money over immediately, otherwise he'd leak the footage."
The second woman also called Xie on Monday, asking for $4,000 in exchange for his nude footage.
"After being threatened consecutively, I then realised I had been scammed," lamented Xie.
Although he was worried that the scammers would leak the compromising footage, Xie could not afford to pay them $5,000. He negotiated with the first scammer, who finally agreed to accept $2,500.
"He initially wanted me to transfer the money over within two hours, but it was already quite late. So I only transferred $1,500 to him on Monday."
Just as they tried to demand for the remaining sum, he received a message from the second woman he chatted with.
"Their methods were the same, which made me suspicious," said Xie.
It was only after receiving the second threatening message that Xie informed his parents, who told him he'd been duped.
"I didn't tell my wife, but my parents were furious when I told them the news. My colleagues also said I was stupid. My parents asked me to call the police, as they were sure I had been scammed."
The police then advised Xie to stop transferring money to the scammers, and block their contacts. "They tried to contact me via WhatsApp, but I ignored their messages," he said.
Besides the nude footage of Xie that they'd captured during the video calls, the scammers also managed to obtain some of his contacts — a list of more than 10 people which included his wife, parents, boss and colleagues.
Xie told Shin Min that he wasn't sure how they managed to obtain this information and suspected that his phone had been hacked.
According to a police advisory on cyber extortion scams, members of the public are advised to be wary of befriending strangers online and refrain from performing compromising sexual acts online.
Those who wish to provide any information relating to such scams may call the Police hotline at 1800-255-0000, or submit it online.