It is the newest word in the scammer’s dictionary - sextortion. So what is it and what should you do if you have become a victim?
Many of us use webcams to chat to people, to work and even to flirt with new contacts. Some people use their webcams for cybersex and that is certainly not against the law unless it is with somebody underage.
The problem comes when the person that you meet online turns out not to be the person they have claimed to be.
A creeping menace At Wilsons Detectives, more and more often victims are contacting us who have fallen prey to sextortionists who are using fake identities. These criminals, pretending to be like-minded individuals will entice their victim to have sex in front of their webcams. A common way to get victims involved is by using an attractive woman to flatter and then persuade the individual to partake in sex play. And this type of story has wider implications as often the women used as bait have themselves been coerced into what they are you doing or may have received threats or financial incentives to draw others in.
How they do it The webcam images are recorded by the criminals who will then get in touch with the victim, threatening to send the images to their friends and families and business colleagues through their email or other online accounts, which will also have been hacked. This type of crime is taking its toll. In the UK, four men have already taken their own lives rather than face the shame of exposure by a sextortionist.
Men and Women are affected But it is not only men who are targeted in this type of crime as women too can be blackmailed or coerced into carrying out sexual acts in order to prevent a sextortionist revealing what they themselves have been doing. This is a dirty crime with victims all the way along the line from the person set up to tempt another, through to the victim, and potentially their friends and family as well. The best ways to ensure that you do not become a victim of this type of crime is never to share anything intimates online unless you know the person very well.
The Criminals behind this type of crime The evidence points towards the fact that organised crime groups, mostly from overseas, are behind this type of crime because the risk of carrying out this kind of crime, for them, is very low. Additionally they are able to reach a lot of victims online very easily. As well is that is the bonus for the criminal that many people are too embarrassed to report this particular kind of crime
What can you do to do if you have been a victim of sextortion? If you are being threatened by someone who claims to have explicit images of you and is asking for money to ensure they don’t share those images the first thing to do is to stay calm. Then:
Contact Wilsons Detectives, the police and your Internet service provider. You should do this right away. The police will take you seriously and they will deal with your case in confidence, as will we, at Wilsons. As this crime becomes more prevalent you can be sure you will not be the first person to report such a crime, and you will not be judged.
Do not have anything more to do with the criminals and take screenshots of all the communication they have with you. If you have a Facebook account suspend it but DON’T DELETE IT.
For other sites that you are on, online such as Skype, YouTube etc., use their online reporting facility to get any video upload blocked and to alert you if the video resurfaces. Suspending a Facebook account rather than closing it can help investigators, such as Wilsons Detectives to collect more evidence.
Be wary on any other online accounts you have, checking that the criminals do not try to make contact with you through them.
Do not pay! Many victims, in desperation, have paid criminals what they’ve been asked only to find that they continue to get demands, or that the explicit videos are posted anyway.
If you have already paid, then try to find out if your money has been collected and if it was, who collected it. If the payment has not gone through, cancel it.
Keep a note of all the evidence you can. Any and all details that the offenders have given away such as a Skype name (A Skype ID is better and you should be able to see that by right clicking on the profile then selecting View Profile and then looking for the name that appears in blue rather than the one above it which will be in black.) You can also try to find and keep a Facebook URL or particularly a MoneyGram for Western Union transfer control number as well as any photos or videos that they have sent. Never delete any correspondence from your blackmailer
At Wilsons Detectives, we are seeing more of this type of crime and if you have been affected you should remember that you are a victim of an organized criminal gang. You are not alone and we can help you resolve the problem. Contact us now on https://www.detectiveswilsons.com/