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C. A. Goldberg PLLC

5 Steps to Take If You’ve Been Sextorted

November 2, 2016


Sextortion is a terrifying and de-humanizing crime that feeds off victims’ shame. Sextortion is like extortion, except that instead of demanding money, the blackmailer demands the victim engage in a sex act, such as posing for naked pictures or masturbating in front of a webcam. The most common form of sextortion is executed through social media. Sextortonists strike up close friendships with their future victims through online messaging and/or texts. Once the trust is solidified, they encourage their victims to send sexually graphic images. They then use those photos as blackmail to force their victims to create more footage according to their perverse specifications. Sextortonists will also hack into victims’ computers, discover sensitive material, and threaten to expose their victims if they refuse to comply with their orders. What do sextortionists want? Control. And they achieve it by making their victims believe that if they don’t obey, their lives will be ruined.

If you are the victim of sextortion, we urge you to follow these five steps to stop the abuse.

1. Tell someone close to you. We know that it’s not easy to admit that you’ve fallen prey to the manipulative tactics of a faceless, anonymous criminal. You might be concerned that your friends or family won’t possibly understand how the situation began. Or you’re frightened that the offender will make good on his threat to post the compromising footage online. It’s crucial to remember that you are the victim of a crime and that these criminals rely on your silence to continue their assault.

2. Stop all contact with the offender. The notion of ceasing contact with the sextortonist might cause you to panic because of the frightening consequences. However, any more exchanges will expose you to the offender’s manipulation. Once the contact is severed the battle to bring him to justice can begin.

3. Don’t delete anything. Evidence is absolutely necessary to measure the scope and timeline of the exploitation. You may feel the urge to rid your computer of any memory of the situation out of embarrassment, but don’t. Keep it all. It’s no longer your shame to bear. It’s now your ammo.

4. Contact the cops. Involving the police from the beginning is important. Since there is no federal law against sextortion, gathering more information on how often it occurs will increase the need for legislative reform.

5. Call C.A. Goldberg PLLC. While we do encourage you to go to the police, your local law enforcement might not have the resources, time, or nuanced understanding of your situation. We do. We work hard to de-anonymize the sextortionist, issue cease and desist letters, restraining orders, and advocate on your behalf with law enforcement and to do crisis control if images have been distributed and lead to problems like a loss of job or estrangement from your family or colleagues.

A sextortionist will lead you to believe that you don’t have any options and there’s no way out. He’s wrong.

To schedule a consult with one of our attorneys, call (646) 666 – 8908 or send an inquiry.