Sentence in a Catphishing Case

Catphishing CaseA convict serving twenty-five years in South Carolina for voluntary manslaughter and attempted armed robbery, Darnell Kahn, has now also been convicted in a US court on Federal sextortion charges.

Mr. Kahn obtained an illegal smartphone (which as a prisoner he is not supposed to have) and used it to set up a fictitious woman’s dating profile online. He would strike up a relationship with lovelorn US Servicemen, catphishing them into sharing their own not-safe-for-work selfies, and then “reveal” the fictitious line that the person they thought was an adult woman was in fact an underage girl, and that the person they were now communicating with was either the catphish’s father or a private detective.

If the victim failed to wire money to Mr. Kahn, they would face prosecution and a dishonorable discharge, or so Mr. Kahn’s persona said. He’s believed to have victimized forty Servicemen between January and July of 2017.

Sextortion seems, the Stars and Stripes reports, to have become something of a cottage industry in South Carolina prisons, and Mr. Khan isn’t alone in pursuing this particular line of crime. The catphishing is no joke, tragically at least one suicide has been traced to it.  

South Carolina authorities are asking for Federal legislation that would permit them to jam cell signals as a way of bringing the inmates under control. “This is another in a long line of cases that would be stopped if we had the ability to jam cellphone signals in state prisons,” the Stars and Stripes quotes Bryan Stirling, director of the state Department of Corrections as saying. “I am calling on Congress to support a hearing on the Cellphone Jamming Reform Act and allow states to use technology to stop inmates from using these illegal phones to prey on innocent victims.”

This particular form of social engineering, catphishing, the creation of a fictitious persona designed to lure and defraud people looking for a romantic partner, may seem a purely personal problem. Still, any scam with financial implications has implications for organizations as well, and besides, teaching your people how to avoid being hurt in this way is an important way of taking care of them. New school security awareness training can help sensitize people to the risks of catphishing, too.

The Stars and Stripes has the story.

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