If you are a victim of blackmail or sextortion, let me explain why you are in the right place and found the best person to help you. My name is Frank M. Ahearn, I am a global privacy consultant, blackmail expert, and author of The New York Times Bestseller, How to Disappear. For most of my career, I have been helping people with unique, extreme, dangerous, and difficult issues, like stalking, violence, online blackmail, and relationship blackmail. I understand the importance of discretion, which is why I work alone; therefore, your secret is my secret, and no one else's.
If caught up in a blackmail situation, you need to go dark by shutting down your social sites or making them as private as possible. However, do not block the blackmailer; if you do, they might contact family and friends, so by keeping in contact, you maintain control. What is key is knowing what the criminal knows about you. Do they have your real name, email address, and mobile number? If so, do any of those pieces of information accurately identify you? Meaning, can the data lead to family, friends, work, or social sites? If so, it puts you, your family, and career at risk.
Blackmail is like a game of chicken, he who flinches first loses. They want money, and you do not wish to be exposed. The power in blackmail is the money; if you pay, you become powerless and will be further victimized. Sending money is not just paying off the blackmailer but also supplying more information about you. If they never had your email, and you used PayPal to pay, they now have your email, and possibly name and address. If you used a money transfer service and took a photo of the transaction and sent it to them, they now have your name and address. The same goes if you paid via a wire transfer. In "relationship blackmail" where you have been involved with a person, past payments are used as leverage.
The important questions are what to do about blackmail and who to call. Some think, law enforcement but unfortunately, that is useless. Most will tell you to ignore, which is extremely irresponsible advice. Ignoring will make a blackmailer angry, which is a time bomb waiting to expose. It risks your content going live without your knowledge, and possibly someone you know finding. Depending on the privacy laws, your police report could become public record.
Online blackmailers do not usually expose; they harass and stalk to extract money. They would rather keep the content private and continue to extort funds. That is not to say some will not expose; in fact, they might send a photo to a spouse as leverage, stating the next one is to your work. The various sextortion groups operate in different ways, so it depends on which ones snared you.
The Filipino group does a little chatting but asks specific questions to figure out your identity. Then they lure you to Skype, and the woman on the video claims the audio is broken, and so she types. Things get funky, and then they send you screenshots of your actions. Sorry to say, but it is a looped video, not a real woman. Then the blackmail begins.
There is a vicious Moroccan group that posts the content, whether you pay or not. They do not necessarily send to your contacts but upload to a variety of porn sites. Stop reading a moment and go to Google. Type in Google Alerts add YOUR NAME, photos, and YOUR NAME, videos.
For those who are not playing online but seeking in-call fun from an escort or masseuse, you have the displeasure of becoming a victim of text blackmail. Instead of a photo or video used to extort, it is your text messages. The person you contact will ask what kind of fun you want. They push for details and prompt you to text about the things you do not want others to know.
Another crew places ads on massage websites; they extract personal info and agree to visit you but never show up. Soon afterward, you receive a text message stating the girl arrived, but you were not there, and she needs to get paid. You are sent horrifying photos of chopped up bodies. They tell you they are coming for you next. I have seen the images, and they are disturbing.
The male species are not the only victims, just more susceptible. With women, the sextortion typically derives from an online romance scam. The victim meets a man on the internet, he works or lives in a foreign country, and they find themselves instantly in love. Something goes wrong in the man's life, he needs money, and the victim sends. During this time, they have also exchanged compromising photos or videos. Eventually, the victim discovers the relationship is a scam, then the extortion begins.
Some predators target females, not for money, but to control them into sending more compromising content. They threaten if the victim does not keep sending; they will expose them to family and friends. The demands can be extreme and disturbing.
There is a long list of the various types of blackmail scams, from dominatrix blackmail, sissy blackmail, to online revenge. I could go on, but you get the picture. So, the question is, what to do about blackmail? Because there are different types, no one answer fits all. As mentioned, make all your social media as private as possible. It does not hurt to tell those in your circle that you were hacked and not to open suspicious emails or text with your name.
The idea of locating or trying to trace an online blackmailer is absurd; they use prepaid mobiles, digital numbers, and dump email addresses. If, by chance, they were located, do you believe the criminal will adhere to a private investigator demanding they stop blackmailing you? No, if anything, it could infuriate the situation.
What some lawyers suggest is sending a cease and desist letter. As if a criminal in a far-off place would care about a letter from a lawyer. Even worse is your lawyer crafted a document on their letterhead about you being blackmailed. What if the scammer posted the cease and desist on social media? Not a good idea.
Stopping blackmail and sextortion begins by setting up a consultation with me. From there, I will know which blackmailer you are dealing with, and what data they have on you. I create a strategy to rid the scammer from your life, as well as consult along the way. For extreme situations, I build online disinformation to protect you, your family, and your career. The objective is always to protect your identity and avoid exposure.
Frank M. Ahearn is a global privacy expert, bestselling author, and public speaker. He began his career as a skip tracer who located people who did not want to be found, and a social engineer who extracted private information. Frank has worked on many high-profile public cases.
Eventually, Frank found himself on the other side of the privacy spectrum and began helping individuals disappear; imagine a private witness protection service. He has worked with victims of stalking, people whose lives were in danger, the famous, and even the infamous. The disappearing world led him to write The New York Times Bestseller, How to Disappear.
When not working on privacy and blackmail, Frank publicly speaks. In 2021, he will talk in Amsterdam for Tweaker, Operation Volt. Past engagements include Rulebreaker Society (Düsseldorf) - me-Convention (Frankfurt) - New Scientist Live (London) - Smart Cities (Berlin) - Arvato (Baden Baden) - 2b AHEAD (Wolfsburg) - Association of Directors (Monaco) - Paper Jam (Luxembourg) - Princeton University - Lehigh University - Law Enforcement (Global).
Frank has taught several in-person and online classes for mystery writers and romance writers. Such as, The Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Kiss of Death, and other international writing groups.
Blackmail goes beyond the digital world when one connects in person with an escort, masseuse, or involves themselves in a relationship of understanding.
There are situations where in-call escorts and masseuses set victims up. While in the hotel, they extract personal information and secretly takes photos of you. If you left the room for a few minutes, they snooped through your belongings and extracted personal or business data.
What could be more troublesome is the relationship of understanding or, as some call it, a sugar daddy. These relationships raise a person's financial status. Plus, victims open the door to their life, possibly by traveling and taking photos together, or secretly inviting them into the home. Then there is the paper trail of payments, which confirms the relationship.
The precarious part rises when you end the relationship, and they fall from financial grace. What you do not know is, they have been preparing for this rainy day, and some they demand a payoff. You should be so lucky if it stops at that, it can escalate to stalking. I could share horror stories. If you are in such an arrangement, plan carefully on how you are going to exit, it is a delicate matter—one where I can be of help.
There are things about blackmail you need to know.
Frank M. Ahearn, author of The New York Times Bestseller, How to Disappear.
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