When an individual becomes a victim of online blackmail or sextortion, automatically, they think about the exposure. Their mind races a million miles an hour, convinced that all the world is about to see them in a state of naked grace. An unfortunate possibility. The fear can paralyze, as well as misguide on what course actions are best.
As a privacy expert, what I find most important is to protect my client's identity. I begin by searching their online information and determine what points of contact exist — including their people connections. I am not solely talking about social sites; that is easy to find data. I am referring to info that is tucked away on page thirty of a search engine or an item that lingers after a victim scrubs the web of their presence.
Protecting an identity from sextortion is essential because those nasty online criminals almost always return. At first, they will make threats by contacting the phone numbers and email addresses they know. If no longer in service, they will play private detective and hunt you down. If one piece of information is floating around, it will become a problem. That is why I use disinformation to assure that a blackmailer will not find my client online or offline.
Blackmailers have joined the invasive age of databases. They use tactics to gather the necessary information to search and find their target's identity. The troubles begin with a digital meeting, perhaps a dating app, social site, or website that provides select entertainment. The conversation flows hot and quick — a suggestion to jump onto Skype, Hangouts, WhatsApp, or direct SMS texting.
· Skype Profile's Display Names
· Hangouts Links to Gmail
· WhatsApp Links to a Mobile Number
If a scammer obtains your mobile number, they can run it online or in a database service. If they get a hit, and it reveals your name, you have problems. If you ever saw a copy of a data report, it lists the full name, address, phone numbers, emails, family, friends, and public connection. It is not only the internet profile at risk but the actual identity that needs to be protected.
If being blackmailed, stop everything and think like a strategist, not a victim. Take time to regroup and come up with a plan or find a professional who can provide a solid plan. Do not forget extortion does not go away; you need to make that happen.
Frank M. Ahearn is a Blackmail Expert and author of the New York Times Bestseller, How to Disappear.
Most blackmail happens by connecting with the wrong person on the internet, hence the terms online blackmail and sextortion. Although, not all of it occurs digitally. There is relationship blackmail, which is when a victim has met their blackmailer. Such cases are inviting an escort into a hotel room or home.
Involving yourself in a Sugar Daddy relationship, where you pay a person over time. Let's not judge here, but men are not the only targets. The high-net-worth woman involved with the younger or less financially successful man can become a victim too.
The danger of such relationships is you opened a door of access. The escort in your hotel can search through your belongings; the same goes for your home. The Sugar Daddy situation is long term and involves time together. The opportunity to sift through documents, computers, business information, wallets, purses, and even mobile phones. Many clients I have worked with were shocked to discover how much information the blackmailer secretly collected. Some think about the rainy day when the money will stop.
A significant issue with relationship blackmail is it begins with the demand for money but can quickly escalate to stalking. Unlike online sextortion, where it is strictly digital, here you face the possibility of them showing up at your work or home. Plus, the threat of them contacting family members or those associated with your professional social media. Before you end things, consider an exit plan.