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SCARS™ Guide: Surviving Sextortion / Sexual Photo Blackmail
Sextortion Uses Explicit Photos Taken From The Victim – Either Provided Willingly Or By Other Means (Such As Hacking) To Use Them Against The Victim
What is Sextortion? Click Here to see an official FBI Video introduction »
SEXTORTION COMES IN TWO FLAVORS:
COERCION OR MONETARY BLACKMAIL
Sextortion As Coercion
Sextortion can be a form of sexual exploitation that employs non-physical forms of coercion to extort sexual or other favors from the victim. Sextortion » refers to the broad category of sexual exploitation in which abuse of power is the means of coercion, as well as to the category of sexual exploitation in which threatened release of sexual images or information is the means of coercion.
Sextortion As Blackmail
Sextortion also refers to a form of blackmail in which sexual information or images are used to extort money from the victim. Social media and text messages are often the source of the sexual material and the threatened means of sharing it with others. An example of this type of sextortion is where people are extorted with a nude image of themselves they shared on the Internet through sexting. They are later blackmailed for money or something of monetary value.
Sextortion Can Be Used By Romance Scammers
After a basic romance scam is completed by the victims discovering the truth or when they stop paying, the scammers frequently will turn to sextortion as a means of obtaining more money. Most romance scammers will try some form of follow-on scam if they are able, either blackmail (which can include disclosure to friends and family), or other deceptions, such as money recovery scams, investigative scams, and more.
Dealing With It
Obviously, dealing with sextortion would not be necessary if the photos in question were not out there. The obvious lesson is they should have never been out there, and we can but hope that it is a lesson you will pass along to others – especially teenage girls and boys since they are heavily victimized in sextortion scams.
If there is any good news in this, it is that there are potential approaches to dealing with both the scammer and if the worst happens and they are released or published.
After a scam, it is critically important to stop all contact with the scammer, and not to let them know that you know.
This is because an angry scammer is a more dangerous scammer. Not that they are going to get on a plane to come and assault you, but you fed them a steady diet of information that they can use against you. Either private information that you shared or photos.
In fact, it doesn’t even matter if you gave them something that you fear the world knowing, they are quite capable of making it up or faked photos.
Every Victim Has Three Main Things To Worry About After The Scam:
- Disclosure of real or fake information or photos
- Exploitation or leveraging of your family and friends since you gave them access to all of them
- Impersonation of you to scam others since you provided the information need to make a modest facsimile of you online
However, if you block them before they are the wiser, then all they will know if that you disappeared. They will expend some energy to reconnect, but they will give up quickly.
The First Rule Of Scamming:
It is a game of numbers!
Don’t waste time on someone that will not pay!
Scammers will rarely waste time if there is no payday! Unless you make them angry and they want revenge. Though most of the time even their anger is fake.
What If They Do It?
What if you realistically expect a scammer to follow through? Usually, because you gave them the photos they will be using.
FIRST THING, DO NOT PANIC!
Think it through, what really would be the impact if some scammer sent your photos around or posted them online?
You would be able to get them taken down from social media since the major social media like Twitter and Facebook do not allow them and will remove them when reported.
What would be your family’s and your friend’s reaction – might consternation and then thinking you were just dumb, or something more serious? You need to logically try to make this assessment.
However, never ever pay the blackmailing scammer, because it will never stop them. They will continuously ask for more and more money!
The Simplest Countermeasure
The easiest, though mildly embarrassing, is to simply alert family and friends!
NO! Do not tell them these are your photos – you don’t need to do that. You feed them a MORE believable story they will easily accept – mostly true with a small white lie in the middle!
Here Is A Sample Message You Can Send Out To Family And Friends:
Hi, I need to alert you that some scammer tried to scam me but failed. He threatened to create nude photos of me and send them to my family and friends. He said they can do it so perfectly that no one would know they were fake. I wanted you to know about this so you will avoid such scams, and in the event that you get anything like this please delete them!
You have probably heard how good these DeepFake photos and videos are getting!
I have no intention to giving into this kind of online blackmail, so I don’t know if they will do it or not. Be especially careful if any of your children might get them, watch their email and social media accounts for the next month or so. Make sure no one accepts any friend or contact requests from strangers. Please let everyone know that that is how it begins, and once they get through it is how they try to blackmail.
I am sorry that I have to share this with you and I am deeply embarrassed but I felt the best defense is to proactively warn everyone!
Thank you for understanding and your help!
Involving The Police
Sextortion is both a local crime in many places and also a Federal Crime (in most countries).
If the scammer follows through, then you should report this to the police. That opens some doors and may get the national cybercops on the trail. However, do not expect an easy solution. If the scammers are in Africa (for example) your police are not going there to arrest them.
But filing the police report means that they can alert social media and email providers and they can do some things to help stop it.
The reality of this is that once they are out there you cannot easily stop it. So it is better to create a counter story that will work for you if or when they ever surface.
We wish we had a better answer, that there was some magical Internet Police that could stop the bad guys to harming real innocent people, but there is no such thing. However, law enforcement around the world does their best, with the help of NGOs like SCARS to address these problems.
In the end, if the scammer has an incentive to release them they will. So deny them an incentive. Never talk with them, never pay them. Scammers have a short attention span!
- Official FBI Video »
- Wikipedia Article on Sextortion »
- Sextortion Of Young Girls – News »
- Sextortion Brochure »
- Sextortion Combined With Phishing Scams »
- FBI Podcast – Sextortion Case »
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A SCARS Division
Miami Florida U.S.A.
TAGS: SCARS, Important Article, Information About Scams, Anti-Scam, Sextortion, Extortion, Using Sexual Photos, Coercion, Blackmail,