How People Fall Victim to Sextortion Scam And Ways to Handle It

Are you a victim of the sextortion scam? Ways to Handle It

Is someone threatening to share your nude picture online? Have you sent your nude to someone on social media before? Or do you engage in sexting or watch porn online? 

Have you heard about the sextortion scam? If you have not, then make sure you read this post till the end. Even if you have heard about the term before, keep reading, as we will explore possible ways people fall victim to this killer scam and how you can avoid it.

Is someone threatening to share your nude picture online? Have you sent your nude to someone on social media before? Or do you engage in sexting or watch porn online?

In the world we are in today, the barrier to what will harm us or embarrass us has been broken. We don’t have to step out of our houses anymore before we can get into trouble or get embarrassed. Troubles are staring us in the face each time we lift our mobile devices.  Once you own one, automatically, you have acquired for yourself two enemies: those that will hate you for not reaching out to them as often as they expected you to and those that will hate you because of what you said when you reached out to them.

The same thing applies to the internet and social media, so far as you use any of them; you should understand that you are no longer far from being embarrassed or reached by the enemy. Every parent should make their kids understand that.

What are sextortion and sextortion scams?

Sextortion is someone threatening to distribute your private and sensitive materials if you do not provide for their demand, which might include money or sexual favors.

Sextortion scam is the act of blackmailing people by claiming to have their nude pictures. In other words, it is the act of someone claiming to have your naked pictures with them and threatening to share them online if you do not comply with their demand.

Two Types of Sextortion Scam

For more clarity, I have decided to categorize sextortion scams into two broad categories:

  1. Sextortion scams based on a claim
  1. Sextortion Scam based on real, nude pictures

We are going to take them one after the other and analyze how the bad actors perpetrated them, what makes them successful, and how you can handle the situation.

Sextortion Scam Based on a Claim

This kind of sextortion scam is orchestrated using social engineering. In this kind of sextortion scam, the bad actor does not have nude images of their target victim with them, but they are only trying to use psychology to make their target believe they do.

This is a situation where the target receives an email, phone call, or text message from a stranger claiming to have hacked into their computer or phone and stolen their nude pictures.

For the scammers to make their victims believe their claim, they usually have to prove to them that they have the capacity or capability to hack or to have hacked their computer or phone. And with respect to that, they also claim that they have in one way or another installed what they can use to monitor their target through their device camera.

The scammers most often support their capability claim to hack their victim by using phrases like “I am a member of an international hacking organization” in their conversation with their target.

For them to make their claims more believable, they will have to look for common situations where people’s nude can be gotten or things people are prone to may have done and include them as the source for the nude picture they have.

Three of the most common situations or scenarios they mostly use as their source are that they got their target nudes while they were watching porn, sexting on social media, or through images stored on their target’s computer or phone.

Once they get their targets to believe them, the next step is to include some sense of urgency in their message or email. This is done by asking their target to do what they want in the next 24 hours or 30 minutes so they won’t leak the pictures online.

Why is This Kind of Sextortion Scam Successful?

One thing that makes a sextortion scam based on a claim successful is that the bad actors harness the idea of people’s commonality of character in crafting their message.

They knew that out of ten people owning an internet-enabled smartphone or computer, at least two people out of the ten watch porn on their device, sex chat with their partner or someone else on social media, or may have knowingly or unknowingly saved their nude on their phone or computer. Therefore, their gambling on that idea has a high probability of them becoming victims.

The second reason that makes this kind of sextortion successful is the target’s knowledge that they can be hacked and their ignorance of how exactly or how to check if they have been truly hacked.

The scammer rides on this target ignorance by placing themselves on high status by saying they belong to a well-recognized hacker group.

Related Post: How to Know If You Have Been Hacked

How to Handle Sextortion Scam That Are Based On Claim

The fact is that you are not the target of this kind of scam until you reply to the scammer’s message, phone call, or email.

This is because sextortion scammers send out the same message you received to many people at the same time, and they are simply waiting for someone to get caught on the web.

Your reply proves to them that you are a victim of the situation they described in their message, and that strengthens their target at you.

There are rare cases where the message is solely targeted at one target, which is known as spearphishing, but the situation is always similar. If you don’t reply, then you are no longer a worthy target.

Therefore, the best way to handle this kind of sextortion scam is to ignore the message. You can save the message, but never try to reply to the message or give a callback, if it was through a phone call.

In a situation where you have responded to their message, the best way to be out is simply to stop meeting their demand, except if you have placed yourself in the second category, which we will be discussing next.

Sextortion Scam Based on Real Nudes

This is the type of sextortion scam where you voluntarily or involuntarily send your nude picture to the scammer. This kind of scam may sometimes come from people we know, not just scammers.

Why is This Kind of Sextortion Scam Successful?

What makes this kind of sextortion successful is the victim’s fear of being embarrassed, exposed, or of what will happen if people find out. This fear is always heavy on people who are into marriage, have some kind of public recognition, or are dependents. Scammers bank on these fears to actualize their demands from the victim.

How to Handle Sextortion Scam Based On Real Nudes Pictures

One thing you should understand is that sextortion is a crime. So, the scammer is committing a crime, and you should not feel embarrassed to report them. Therefore, the best way for you to handle that is to report them to the appropriate authorities. This is especially true if you are a dependent or a teenager.

The second way you can handle it is by ignoring them. Though not the same way you handle sextortion based on a claim, in this case, you will have to ignore them and still monitor online to see if the scammer is truly circulating the nude pictures as they have threatened.

You can check that using reverse image search on websites like TinyEye and Google image search. If you find the image online, you can reach out to the platform where it was distributed for removal or report it to the authorities to help you achieve that and capture the perpetrator.

Another way you can remove the images if they are shared is by creating a case on stopncii.org submitting the image the scammer is threatening to expose on the platform. StopNcii will help you remove the image from every social media platform they partner with, with which the scammer may likely share the nude picture.

The third way is denial. This may not be the most effective, but with the era of AI and photoshopping, you can make a case that you are not the one in the pictures. The bottom line is that you should avoid anything that will make you start yielding to the scammer’s demands.

 Who Are the Most Vulnerable to Sextortion Scam?

Everyone using the internet is vulnerable to sextortion, but those who are more likely to fall victim to the scam are mostly married people who visit porn sites or sext online and teenagers who sext on social media. That is because they are the most likely to respond when targeted by these scammers, and they are always more eager to fulfill the scammers’ demands.

There are cases of people committing suicide because of sextortion scams, so please share this post to help save lives. If you feel that your computer or phone has been hacked, you can contact us to help you verify the incident.

Related Post: How People Get Hacked From Porn Sites

As a teenager, irrespective of how your sex drive pushes you, do not make the mistake of sending your nude pictures to someone through social media. This applies to people you know. If your boyfriend or girlfriend wants to see your nakedness, they should come physically. Using social media to fulfill the demand will end up putting you at risk of sextortion.

Read Also: How to Detect And Remove Spyware From Your Phone-Working Guide

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