Updated: May 28, 2019
Online Security - Sextortion
This is a scam that is becoming more and more common with those that like to send nude selfies etc. to strangers and supposed friends... No only can this effect someone's personal life but also the reputation of the company they are working for. There have been plenty of sex scandals making the news this year, so from a management point of view keep your people informed and let them know the consequences of sharing sexy photos online or via their phones!!!
Sextortion is a crime they are having big problems with in Europe. An old friend of mine from the British Army who is now a British Police Detective was explaining they are receiving a lot of calls from people who have been caught out by this scam.
This is how things usually develop: the scammer will set up a social media profile of an attractive young girl or boy and then start sending out friend requests to likely looking victims. When someone accepts their friend request they start to politely message then build up a virtual relationship over say a few weeks. When they feel the victim is comfortable with them they start sending nude and sexual photos or videos and asking the same in return.
When the scammers have sufficient videos and photos of the victim then the extortion begins. The threat is usually for a relatively small amount of money, £250.00 GBP; why so small, because this is an amount most can afford however it is a lot of money in Nigeria. If the victim refuses to pay, then the scammers tell them that they have or had access to their friends and contacts list and will send their sexual photos or videos out to everyone.
For most people this would cause a lot of embarrassment, for those with work colleagues, bosses or employers on their social media it could cost them their job. I am quite sure the vast majority of these cases are not reported to the police and the victims pay up.
This scam is also very prevalent in the Middle East and Central Asia where the cultures are very conservative. The scammers target these cultures because they know if they make public a sexually explicit video of someone from Saudi Arabia for example, that person could end up in a lot of legal problems. In many Central Asian cultures, it would lead to the person being disowned by their family or in the case of a female, an honor killing.
So, while sexting can appear to be just harmless fun it can generate a lot of negative repercussions ranging from embarrassment, loss of friends, law suits, criminal complaints, extortion and suicides. How can all this be prevented? Very simply… Do not let people you don’t know or trust into your social media networks and if you need to let work colleagues or others whom you don’t know, or trust then be careful what you post and set another personal profile for close friends. Also, the golden rule, do not send or post anything that you are not comfortable with being made public!
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