What’s the first thing you do when you trip on the sidewalk – you look around to see if anyone noticed and, if so, did they laugh.
But what if you were recorded comparing bits and pieces with someone on the internet? Maybe someone caught you with an illegal substance in your pocket or, as we describe in this episode, ride escalators in hopes that someone will take an upskirt photo of you.
This is the badger game. You can call it extortion or blackmail, but this scam sets a trap and if you are caught, your tighty-whities will bunch up.
It is morally wrong to allow suckers, to keep them money.Speaker 2:
You've been head robbed of your money, your property, and most of all, your self-respect someone distracted you or played off your trust. You never saw it coming. The mark never does. So give yourself a break. Grifters have been around since the serpent offered an apple to Adam and Eve. It's time to say goodbye to your money and move on. I'm Jim Grinstead and on scams and cons. I'll tell you how Grifters work and about the fraud say commit, but don't think you'll out with the next con artists that crosses your path. If you're the mark, you'll never see it coming. [inaudible] The look in her eyes was filled with desire. When she put her hand on my chest, I thought my heart would explode. And when she kissed me, I never felt the knife. She slipped between my ribs. She was the classic femme Patel, the woman who wants you to do the dirty work, leaving her with the spoils. YouSpeaker 2:
Have to be very careful now about the phones. Why do you say this for a couple of calls? We've had some contact. It would make sense. What's happened. [inaudible] we can have everything we want. Isn't it [inaudible] .Speaker 3:
And with that decision actor, William hurt has just set himself up to be the sucker in Kathleen Turner scheme. The stories from the movie, body heat, one of my all time favorites, but it's just a movie. Richard Crenna doesn't really die. And well, no spoilers here. This type of scam was originally known as the Badger game. You may have heard it called the honey trap or these days sextortion there's no definitive answer. But the term Badger game is said to have originated back in the time where a dog and a Badger were thrown in a ring for a fight to the fetish. The Miriam Webster dictionary says the phrase, honey trap originated in a John Le Carre spy novel. Unlike the Russian bride scam, where people are lured into sending money to someone never met this takes place face to face up close and personal. It involves touch closeness and the illusion of an emotional bond. One slip up can destroy months of work and maybe in your life, the Badger game was a trope for movies, usually espionage films. And it has been used by intelligence agencies to gain information or access more commonly it's simply a matter of putting a mark into a scandalous situation, then extorting her for money to keep the matter secret. The situation is usually sexual and sometimes can involve attracting the mark with a promise of a homosexual act under age children, child pornography, a sexual fetish or some other activity. The con may also attempt to convince someone to commit a crime or other act that has severe consequences legal or otherwise. So let's drag some dead presidents into the picture. We know JFK had affairs, and then there was the whole bill Clinton thing, but let's go back to when George Washington was president, that's just a marker. This scandal doesn't involve him. There is a tryst going on between Alexander Hamilton and Maria Reynolds in 1791 in 1792 Maria's husband found out and since Hamilton was at a high profile job as secretary of the treasury, the husband demanded $1,300 from Hamilton to keep the secret fat lot of good that did him. The husband had his own side hustle, snatching money destined for revolutionary war veterans. When he tried to squeeze Hambleton again, Hamilton came clean to avoid further blackmail. The Hamilton Reynolds scandal didn't bother the public much. He remained respected figure until he died in a duel with Aaron Burr in 1804, beating a black mailer is possible. If the blackmailer is identified and the victim openly reveals the secret, there's no better source on this than David Letterman. In 2009, a former CBS producers sought to blackmail the late night hosts by writing a screenplay about Letterman's misdeeds. After the investigation, police were prepared to make an arrest.Speaker 4:
I had to go downtown to the , uh, testify before the grand jury. And , uh, I had to tell them how I was disturbed by this. I was worried for myself. I was worried for my family. Uh , I felt menaced by this. Uh, and I had to tell them , uh , all of the creepy things that I haveSpeaker 3:
Done grand jury signed off and the blackmailer was arrested then to prevent further blackmail , Letterman confessed his sins on national television.Speaker 4:
Now, of course we get to what was it? What was all the creepy stuff that he was going to put into the , the screenplay and , and the movie and the creepy stuff was that I have had sex with women who work for me on the show. Now my response to that is yes, I haveSpeaker 3:
Earlier when I said, honey, trap, your mind likely jumped to using sex to extort money or state secrets. And yes, that sometimes happens. But the goal of nation state honey traps is to get information. And if you're really lucky, you get it from many different people. Enter Maria Bettina, a suspected Russian spy as ABC news reported in 2018, she worked her way into the top echelons of powerful people in the government and the national rifle association. TheSpeaker 5:
Indictment for Maria Bettina reads like a spy novel. The government claims she was willing to go to extreme measures, to infiltrate the U S political system. And the NRA prosecutors accused the 29 year old of offering sex in exchange for a position inside an undisclosed special interest organization.Speaker 3:
She was later sentenced by a federal judge to 18 months in prison after pleading guilty of infiltrating conservative political circles and promoting Russian interests before and after the 2016 presidential election. Once she got out of jail, she was shipped back to Russia and her hometown in Siberia, where despite the freezing cold, she received a warm welcome. These days are cameras all around us. Cell phones, computers, and surveillance cameras to name a few , uh , technologically gifted con artists can activate cameras and phones or computers that capture the private moments of people in their own homes. When the scammer has enough footage, the victim gets an email with an embarrassing image and a demand for money. Someone who knows all about it is Cassidy Wolf. Miss teen USA, 2013, it happened to her while she was still in high school.Speaker 6:
Never think somebody would be watching you in your room and this guy had been. And so the thought of that just was, it gave me nightmares. How did you find out about this? I received an anonymous email from an anonymous person when I basically was extorting me and blackmailing me. I saw that he had attached nude photos of me that he had taken in my bedroom.Speaker 3:
CNN reported on the arrest.Speaker 6:
According to court documents, Jared Abraham's a former high school classmate of Cassidy's hacked into her computer, used her webcam to take pictures of her during her most private moments. The FBI says Wolf was one of, at least eight women that Abraham's was blackmailing. And a scheme that reached as far asSpeaker 3:
Abraham's was eventually sentenced to 18 months in prison. The practice of computer sextortion began in 2009. The original scammers made a lot of money fast, and that got the attention of scammers, including a woman who came to be known as the Philippines queen extortion in 2016, her operation had grown so large that journalist Simon Perry decided to follow the story. UsuallySpeaker 7:
You'll find these crimes might originate in Nigeria or some African countries and then get copied overseas. But here, this was the first that anyone had ever heard of these crimes being perpetrated in about 20 13, 20 14, they suddenly started springing up. This crime didn't exist until Maria Capra invented it.Speaker 3:
The woman was later arrested and admitted to using children as young as 13 or syndicate. The radon , her operation led to the arrest of 58 Filipinos and another 100 persons linked to the extortion victims were identified from all over the world, including a Scottish teenager who committed suicide after being blackmailed with the creation of this scam, the Badger game moved from requiring a close personal encounter to a racket that could be run remotely and reach anywhere in the world. The scammer can have no personal interaction with the mark. Although getting up close and personal can have its rewards.Speaker 2:
[inaudible] JapanSpeaker 3:
Today reported in 2020 that police in Tokyo arrested a 34 year old man and his 35 year old common law wife on suspicion of extortion. After they threatened to report a man to police for taking up skirt video, the wife, unless he paid them about $9,000. So was that a crime of opportunity or a trap police said the incident occurred at a shopping center. Apparently the common law wife wore a mini skirt and went up escalators, repeated. Eventually a man in his twenties began filming up the wife skirt while the husband was shooting video of his own. After police arrested the couple, they said they'd been going to the mall every weekend, over the past year, looking for suckers. Apparently it pays to dress for success. People get taken by a scammer con because they want to believe they've been told to tale and offered proof to inspire trust. They don't discover the truth until it's too late. The con was carefully orchestrated because they were the mark. They never saw it coming. What you can believe in is that a new episode of scams and cons is coming in two weeks. See you then. And thanks for listening.