Natalie Turco-Williams | Contributing Writer | Thursday, 30 July 2015

Chechen Girls Successfully \\\\\\\'Catfish\\\\\\\' ISIS For Thousands Of Pounds

Chechen Girls Successfully 'Catfish' ISIS For Thousands Of Pounds

The Debrief: The three girls targeted jihadists online, claiming they needed funds to travel to Syria. Once the money was sent, they cut off all communication

From filling out those paid surveys to setting up a crowdfunder page for your degree – raising big sums of cash in the 21st century can be pretty damn easy. So easy in fact, that apparently, you can ‘catfish’ one of the biggest terrorist organisations in the world into giving you money over social media. 

Yep, a group of Chechen girls used Facebook to swindle ISIS out of a whopping $3,300, which works out at around £2,114. New iPhone, anyone? Or maybe a holiday to Ibiza? 

So how did three young Chechen girls scam the global terrorist group?

Well, after setting up fake profiles on social media, they set about meeting recruiters for ISIS online and pretending to be super eager to join. The girls would even send photos to the jihadists to make a point about how much they wanted to be a part of the group.

Once the recruiters were hooked, the girls would say the only thing stopping them from going to Syria to join was their lack of money. So the recruiters sent them funds for travel and once the money cleared, the girls cut all communication on their profiles – to start on a new target.

It was only when the Chechen police’s E unit, which specialises in online crime, caught them that their catfishing story went viral.

Speaking to RT.com, Valery Zolotaryov, an officer in the E unit, commented: ‘I don’t recall any precedent like this one in Chechnya, probably because nobody digs deep enough in that direction.

‘Anyhow, I don’t advise anyone to communicate with dangerous criminals, especially for grabbing quick money.’

In an interview with LifeNews, one of the catfishers said she did consider joining the terrorist group when talking to recruiters and stated: ‘Many people I know did go, but I know no one for whom it turned out well.’

It’s not uncommon for young girls to be recruited into ISIS, with even a small proportion of British girls joining up. Talking to The Debrief, Edwards Watts, the filmmaker behind the Channel 4 doc Escape from ISIS, explained: ‘The foreign women are put into A Hamza as part of integrating them into the ISIS structure. They all carry guns and are put in the position of enforcing rules.’

Although the girls have technically committed a crime, the internet doesn’t seem to care, with many users siding with the catfishers because they feel ISIS has exploited enough people and these girls were just giving them a taste of their own medicine.

It hasn’t been announced what the girls’ fate is yet, but it could be something quite serious if these charges are taken to court.

Like this? Then you might also be interested in:

What Life’s Really Like For Girls Living Under ISIS

Here’s Your Need-To-Know About ISIS

Jihadist Fighters For ISIS Are Using Social Media Just Like We Do

Follow Natalie on Twitter @NatalieTurcoWil

Tags: Syria, Iraq