Online blackmail scams often start in the same way. A stranger – typically posing as a woman – slides into their target’s messages on Facebook, Instagram, or Skype with some flattery and then a request to video chat.
If the target agrees, the stranger wastes no time in insisting the conversation gets a little hot and heavy. They may even send a naked picture or sex video without prompting. But that unsolicited offer strategically builds a false sense of trust. It makes the target feel comfortable enough to send a few nude photos. Or a masturbating video. Or several.
Suddenly the sexting stops and the stranger reveals who they really are – an online blackmailer. Unlike sextortionists, these type of online blackmailers tend to prey on men and their goal is money. However, just like sextortionists, blackmailers who use this scam exploit their victims’ fear for their own gain.
If you are the victim of online blackmail, we urge you to follow these five steps right away.
1. Don’t delete anything!
We repeat – don’t delete a f*cking thing. You might want to for several reasons: embarrassment over being duped, it’s evidence of cheating, or a panicked attempt to get it out of sight, out of mind. The second you start erasing that proof, you put more control in the blackmailer’s hands.
Learn how to organize all your evidence with our Incident Tracking Chart.
2. Don’t give them any more of your time or money – no matter how “small” the request.
The scammer will start baiting you with demands and threats. Don’t respond. Those demands for money may be followed up with threats to message all of your Facebook or Insta friends and everyone you know with the videos or naked pics you took. Again, don’t respond.
Ok, we get it. Nobody wants their high school band teacher to see them getting off. And blackmailers know this and prey on it. The initial demand may not seem that bad either. What’s a couple hundred bucks if it’ll make them go away? But paying online blackmailers says only one thing – you will do whatever they ask. So don’t pay and don’t keep chatting.
3. Resist the temptation to negotiate.
No matter how desperate you feel, don’t make offers. It shows a willingness to cooperate with the blackmailer. Don’t risk turning yourself into an ATM.
4. Think about how an exposure of this kind could impact your life.
Although you might hope that ignoring the problem will make it go away that doesn’t always happen.
The constant fear of what this scam could do to you is no way to live. If there are any parts of your life that could be damaged if this gets out – your public reputation, career, or relationship – you should get a plan together. Understanding exactly how a leak could affect you AND how to respond if shit does hit the fan is a move blackmailers don’t expect.
5. Don’t let shame and blame stop you from getting help.
Ok, so you masturbated on cam to a stranger? Sure, that might not be everyone’s kink but it’s not illegal and certainly not deserving of someone’s fear-inducing scam. Call the cops and contact a lawyer who knows how to handle this type of crisis discreetly.
Our firm has handled many online blackmail cases that involve the worst-case-scenario coming true – the content sent to loved ones and coworkers. Unfortunately for those particular blackmailers, their threats were met with a legal team that acted quickly. We are can control the crisis and protect your rep.
Call (646) 666 – 8908 or send our office a message to tell us what’s going on. We will be in touch right away.