My client Mr. X., a married man, and father of three signed up for Grindr. His profile stated that he was looking for discreet fun. What he found was an encounter that nearly destroyed his life. The person who contacted Mr. X. appeared to live in the same city. The conversation got hot, with quite a few nude photos passed. The new mate suggested, a meeting at his apartment; he asked for Mr. X's mobile number to text him the address.
What happened next made Mr. X. buckle at the knees and nearly lost his lunch. Ten SMS messages later, with his name, home address, employment, and his wife's Facebook page. The last few texts were photos of him doing the deed. The phone rang, and the voice demanded CHF1000 or he would share the pictures with his wife.
If you are playing online, you must know if it is a real person or a fraud. You cannot get wild ahead of time and send compromising photos. I know it takes the fun out of it, but better to be smart than a victim of sextortion.
As a privacy expert, I maintain the idea that everyone who contacts me is cop, criminal, or crazy until proven otherwise. In the dating and quick fix sex world, everyone is an unidentified stranger until proven otherwise. Which means you cannot trust the person you met ten minutes earlier. Once you hit send, you have zero control of the content. Do you want a stranger to have that type of control over you?
Blackmailers do not need photos to blackmail.
Another client played it safe and did not send photos, although he did make the mistake of sending sexually explicit texts. The scammer sent him a list of all his LinkedIn connections, as well as his boss' email address. His first payment was two thousand dollars.
If you have found yourself the victim on blackmail or sextortion, Frank M. Ahearn can help.
Panic, but don't panic. Take time and examine what has occurred. Did you send compromising material or is the blackmailer claiming a hack?
A stranger claiming, they hacked your computer or mobile may not be real but a ruse to make you think they have a list of all IP addresses you visited and your photos. A common ploy by online scammers. If you did share compromising material that is a different story and action is necessary.
No doubt, it shakes one to the core when they discover a blackmailer has the items that can turn one's life upside down. The first reaction by most is to go to the local police. Sorry to say but they are not calling in the technical division to trace the blackmailer. Their suggestion is to block the blackmailer and nothing more. A short-sighted action, considering a new email address bypass that roadblock.
Facing online blackmail is terrorizing. The mind races four hundred miles an hour thinking that the world will soon collapse. Imagining the backlash alone is crushing and wondering how the exposure will cause harm. You need to remember you are a victim, not a villain. A step to combatting blackmail is to get your head right. Tell yourself no matter how hard the road looks, you do not deserve victimization by some online creep. Take some thought action and prepare yourself for potential exposure, and consider damage control, just in case.
You must get a sense of who you are dealing with, are they some numb-nuts who plays a numbers game with people and whoever pays, pays? Or are they hardcore players? All blackmailers know that the initial amount they demand is not the amount a victim can or will pay. The first response to the sextortionist, is you have no money, and if they negotiate, you are in control.
From experience, online blackmailers do not release photos or videos. They are in the business of making money, and if they expose you, that ends the ability to extort you. Most blackmailers will see you as a future meal ticket. Perhaps they can friend you on social media sometime down the road and create a fake online romance to scam you out of money. More disturbing is their ugly head rises again in six months, and you face the same threats.
If the blackmailer has a connection to you, they can connect. If they can search the internet and find your social media, they can connect. Ask yourself, is it all that important for you to be online? Perhaps, disappearing from the internet is the smart move.