Where a tweet resulted in blackmail online sex ordeal
With the proliferation of webcams and the use of the internet, blackmail online by sextortion is a growing form of exploitation.
How sextortion usually begins - chronology of blackmail online
Our client’s blackmail online (sextortion) ordeal began when she was going through a personally rough time. She had recently moved home with a small child, felt like her marriage was unravelling and had an ailing family member, so was feeling quite isolated and unhappy. She reached out on social media asking about any groups that she could join in the area that she had moved to and was pleased by the response and also, comforted by the support and understanding of strangers that had gone through similar experiences.
Looking for comfort, love and support
One stranger in particular seemed very supportive and sent her messages daily. Soon they were talking about their love of travelling, music and life experiences. She felt like she had found someone who listened to her and it was filling a void in her life, since her marriage wasn’t getting any easier and her husband was working away a lot. She felt lonely but messages from her new friend, perked her days up. He too was married and a Father of one child and they had much in common, since he had upped sticks from his hometown and missed his old friends and was now working from home, which was isolating.
The point in time where the relationship moves to the next level
When he suggested that they moved the conversation to personal emailing, she didn’t think twice because they had so much common and he was very pleasant to write to and share messages with. She looked forward to his upbeat, funny messages and was soon feeling better about herself and more confident, and especially when he told he that he thought she was beautiful and that her Husband was a lucky man.
Falling into false sense of security as you are groomed for blackmail online
She felt safe, telling him more personal details about herself and he reciprocated. Then, he told her about his failing sex life but he loved his wife and didn’t want to lose her because she was amazing but he felt frustrated. Our client listened to him, as he provided support and she soon found herself fantasising about him. He had sent her a picture and he was handsome and they were soon in the throes of sexting each other. He made her feel desirable, telling her how she looked and what it did to him and that he had moments of guilt about his Wife but there wouldn’t be any harm in sending each other more revealing pictures to each other that would be a ‘secret’ between them both.
Getting excited and thrilled
She admitted to feeling excited by the thrill of sending a nude picture via email; something that she hadn’t ever done in her life and then she received several naked ones from him. He then suggested that she sent a naked webcam video to him. After a couple of glasses of wine one night, she felt less inhibited and thought there wouldn't be any harm in it but then woke the next day with deep remorse.
She then felt that it had gone too far, regretted what she had done and asked him to delete the webcam videos and images. He said that he would. She soon found herself wishing that she hadn’t engaged and that her Husband was a good man and he would be destroyed if he knew that she had sent someone else naked images of herself and had been engaging in sexting and also giving so many of her secrets away. This stranger online knew so much about her and the regrets started to nag away at her. She decided to send the stranger a message to say that she was grateful for the friendship that they had had but she was going to busy herself doing other things now and wished him well.
Where reality hits chillingly hard
What happened soon after frightened and devastated our client. The stranger sent her a email with the Title: Send me money or I will post your nude video and images online! She frantically turned to the internet to seek help with this blackmail online matter. She didn’t want her Husband or anyone to see the sexting images and video and knew that she had to act fast to get help with removing content off the internet.
Many people, in blackmail online moments like these, feel frozen with fear and don’t know where to turn. Luckily, our client stumbled on one of our articles about blackmail online, which led her to our internet law firm and we were able to help immediately, saving our client from embarrassment, blackmail and public humiliation. We tracked her sextortion predator down and sent him/her a letter about the crime of blackmail online that he was committing and what we intended to do if he didn't stop, and it was enough for him/her to leave her alone. This was over a year ago and by now, the sextortion predator has probably forgotten all about her and has either ceased his sextortion campaigns or moved onto other unfortunate victims. We have been monitoring the internet since for any sextortion images or videos of our client, which has given our client great reassurance.
Never a coincidental meeting
There are a growing breed of grooming perpetrators of sextortion and blackmail online. Many start searching for their blackmail victims on social media, as they can get a lot of background on people before they engage and can gear and tailor their messages around what they have learnt just by reading their bio and checking out their name and personal information online. There is so much information that can be found online about people and these sextortion perpetrators will dig deep and gain lots of information for their blackmail online campaign in advance of connecting, if they see they have a good candidate for blackmailing. These online sextortion predators are experts in coaxing people into sharing information with them under the guise of support, understanding and flattery.
What to do if you have become victim of sextortion or Blackmail online
If blackmail online has happened to you, you shouldn’t persecute yourself for falling victim and feeling clouded by the any judgements that you made. These online predators are experts in scamming and they target hundreds of people every day, hoping to catch some and unfortunately, they are successful with their blackmail online campaigns.
People are more open to these sextortion perpetrators’ advances when they are feeling vulnerable and we all feel vulnerable at times in our lives and these blackmailers are seeking anyone that they can gain trust with and offer support, using cunning ways. You were looking for support and you found it. It isn’t your fault that the person that you thought was a new friend, was all the time grooming you for blackmail online through sextortion and very often, they are grooming lots of victims for sextortion means, at the same time. They gained your trust and abused you and this isn’t something that you should have to carry. You need legal help with this internet crime, as well as support and understanding, as soon as possible and we can help you with that.
Not so pretty, after all
It won’t be surprising to learn that in many blackmail online cases, the sextortion criminals are not the handsome, genuine businessmen that they originally claimed to be. Some are women themselves, posing as men. When we have discovered the identity of blackmailers online, some have been members of gangs employed to blackmail people on the internet and are managed by others.
Getting rid of your sextortionist
Very often, we can trace the blackmail online perpetrators down and they do not go so far as doing what they are threatening to do, once we are in touch with them. Perpetrators of sextortion don’t always live overseas, as is popularly believed, which makes for a quicker locating and one letter from us can so often lead them to admitting to it, ceasing and desisting and paying you compensation for the damages that their blackmailing has caused you. It is important to note that a professional legally worded letter from an internet lawyer that deals with blackmail online regularly will minimise risks because any letter made without legal advice that may be badly worded and without knowledge of the outcome if they do not cease and desist, for example, could have severe consequences. This is general good advice.
Many perpetrators of sextortion blackmail online have family and friends themselves and do not want to be exposed. Whilst we spend time tracking them down, no matter what country they live in (we are successful in multijurisdictional cases), we can remove any defaming content, images or videos and / or monitor the internet to ensure they are removed entirely as soon as / if they appear.
An early legal intervention in a sextortion and blackmail online case makes you more likely to succeed
Luckily for our client in this instance, she found our internet law firm and we worked quickly dealing with the blackmail online. It is a crime and it should be reported to the police but one thing to note is that this may take some time and although the police will investigate blackmail online, many forces are not internet technology savvy and it may be a long process. By this time, the case of blackmail online may have escalated and there is a greater risk of your anxiety being heightened due to more threats and demands and the possibility of the images and videos being posted online. Needless to say, NEVER send them money. Some blackmailers may be bluffing and some may indeed aim for the damage they intend and in both cases, they may demand more.
Legal advice for victims of sextortion and blackmail online
Every case of sextortion / blackmail online is different. Every one of our clients has different circumstances to deal with and different matters at stake. Generally speaking, we advise victims of sextortion to not delete any evidence of the blackmail online but to end all contact (pleading with online predators may give them oxygen) and put filters on your accounts to block them. Even then, make sure you first obtain legal advice.
Deactivate social media accounts rather than close them down because this will retain any blackmail online data that is crucial evidence. Inform all of your friends and followers on the social media platform that you have been hacked and not to open any post that has supposedly come from you. Hopefully, close friends and colleagues know your style of writing, so inform them via email that you will write from a new account soon and that you will confirm your identity by telling them how you met or something familiar to you both, otherwise it could be a hacker again.
Depending on how much information that you shared with this online predator may not be clear to you at this point because being full of anxiety and panic can be clouding your memory but we would advise putting extra security on your bank accounts and change passwords on your devices and perhaps disable the webcam until you need it to communicate with people that you know. If you have paid, put an immediate stop on the payment. If it has been collected, talk to the bank about the blackmail online and ask them to look into where it was collected from (again, more evidence).
We also usually advise victims of sextortion to call us immediately once they discover there is a problem because we are experienced in these blackmail online by sextortion predator cases and we will know just what to do to help, support and protect you. We will wipe away some of your anxiety but we can assure you that we will know how to wipe content about you off the internet because we know exactly what to do for long term remedies. Nearly all our clients instantly feel relieved and more confident about the future once they have spoken to one of our specialist lawyers.
In the meantime, don't beat yourself up. Blackmail online happens to anyone from any walk of life from all over the world that goes online, unfortunately. That is why our internet law firm exists and we are dedicated to helping everyone with internet related crimes against them and we do so, without judgement and with empathy.
Read more about how Cohen Davis can help you with sextortion legal help / blackmail online support here.
Likewise, if you have been arrested for a sexually related offence on the internet, you will need specialist internet lawyer legal advice.