THE man blackmailing diesel mechanic, Daniel Smith*, last week gave him a choice…
Either pay R4 000 cash or the screen grabs of a raunchy Whatsapp conversation between him and another woman would be sent to his wife and splashed all over social media.
The heat rising into Daniel’s face when he had a look at the screen grabs being used to blackmail him was a bit of embarrassment, mingled mostly with disbelief and anger.
The Whatsapp conversation was completely fabricated. Photos taken off his Facebook profile had been digitally manipulated and superimposed onto pornographic material to create the smutty conversation thread.
“I was at work when the photos were sent to me. My first thought was about what my wife was going to think. The guy who sent the messages was demanding money and I told him I didn’t have any,” said Daniel.
Faced with the choice at hand, Daniel decided to confide in his wife, trusting that their marriage was strong enough to withstand this trial. “I spoke to my wife and she understood. She said she could see that it wasn’t my body in those photos, but there are so many people out there who would jump the gun and pay the money before their family can see those photos. It makes me very angry,” said Daniel.
Leon Prinsloo, a founding member of Vryheid’s Small Business Institute, said he was similarly blackmailed last week. “It began with a simple friend request on Facebook from a woman who was a member the same motorbike Facebook group as me. The person, who I now believe may be a man, sent me a message on Facebook messenger, saying she wanted to talk to me about something and wanted to take the conversation to Whatsapp. After I gave her my number, the naked photos started arriving, including digitally manipulated photos of me.
“I sent the person a message saying, ‘That’s not me.’ She (or he) then threatened to post the photos on Facebook, and I said, ‘You do what you have to do, but I will do what I have to do.’ Then I posted a warning on Facebook so that my friends knew what was going on,” said Mr Prinsloo.
“In my case, my Facebook profile was wide open because I had not set my privacy settings. My phone number was on Facebook, and that’s how the conman got it. I am also being very cautious about who I accept a friend request from,” said Daniel.
Six similar cases had been brought to the attention of Vryheid SAPS last year.
Men who have been victimised in this way are urged to report to the police station as soon as possible.
“We can only begin to trace cell-phone numbers and bank accounts to find the culprits if we have cases being opened,” advised Vryheid SAPS communications officer, Captain Cheryl Venter.
“Victims should not hand over any money. Be honest with your friends and family and tell them what has happened, they will understand. Make hard copies available of all the correspondence between yourself and the blackmailer. This will serve as evidence.”
“I wish the people who were smart enough to think these things up, would put their brain power to better use. Then, the world would be a better place,” said Daniel’s mum. “I really hope they catch the people who are doing this. They can’t be allowed to get away with it.”
*This man asked that we not use his real name for fear of further victimisation.