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Watch out for Sextortion Frauds


Social media creates an opportunity for young women and men living in socially conservative non-western societies to be able to communicate, meet, and engage in forbidden intimacies and forbidden behaviour. Men are being contacted on Instagram and WhatsApp by women having attractive profile pictures. They seduce you via chat and persuade you to do a nude video call. When the person agrees to it, they record the entire episode and start blackmailing the victim for money, threatening to share the video clips with their relatives and friends on social media. 

Taking advantage of people’s fear of having intimate moments exposed, scammers are extorting money by threatening them with the release of sexually explicit images or videos of the victim. With the fear of intimate moments being exposed, they just transfer money as much as they have. Sextortion scams are dangerous and may lead to suicidal ideations with the fear of social defamation.

Sextortion happens via (1) social media (social networking, online video games, and video chat platforms). (2) Dating Apps (including OkCupid, Tinder, TanTan, and Locanto).(3) Bitcoin and email phishing (sending out random emails claiming to have your sex recordings).The following are examples of notable sextortion scams: (1) Extortion is transformed into a proposal; (2) two men are beautiful women.(3) Charging a Gay Man. (4) I have a recording of your sex.

Identifying a Sextortion Scam:

  • Scammers are usually quite adept at copying stuff (fancy profiles) from other websites and starting blindly using them for communication.
  • There are discrepancies between their dating and other public profiles.
  • Love at first sight
  • Interested in engaging in intimate activities online?
  • Sending short links to their profiles, and so on.
  • Create fake stories like family members being unwell or processing visas or sending gifts.
  • Someone unknown is trying to flirt or come nude in a live session.

Few Common Elements of Sextortion Scams:

  • They threaten the victims, creating panic and fear amongst them. 
  • Set a time limit for money transfers (typically between 12 and 24 hours).
  • The scammer keeps a copy of the sexual acts and begins sending your clips at the start of each conversation.
  • Scammers send you instructions on how to purchase bitcoins and transfer them.
  • Scammers explain in detail how they blackmail you (usually on social media).
  • Scammers provide technical explanations, that they have control of your explicit data that sound convincing enough and most internet users have limited knowledge of technology.
  • Scammers create a sense of helplessness in their victims, encouraging them to surrender when they intend to fight back.
  • Victims get motivated to make it all go away quickly due to the level of social defamation and emotional stress they are undergoing.

What to do when you are in the midst of Sextortion Fraud:

  • Do not panic. The first step is to recognise that you are the victim and that you may require support to get out of this scam.
  • Past experience shows that even if the victims have paid, there is no guarantee that scammers will not still post the recording, and it is likely that they will come back with further demands.
  • By replying to these extortion threats, you indicate to the criminals that you are someone who may be persuaded to pay their ransom.
  • Document all communication with the sextortionist 
  • Protect all social media profiles, make them private, and enable two-factor authentication for all social profiles.
  • Report inappropriate content to the relevant social media platform.
  • You can contact or call 155260  to report what has happened to you. 
  • If you are under 18, consider speaking to a trusted adult and getting additional support before you approach police for help.


Age is not criteria, there are victims from all age groups. Never indulge in online chatting, dating, or getting emotionally involved with people without verifying who they are and the truthfulness of their claims. Never share your intimate pictures and videos on any online platform. 

Beware that there are so many pitfalls in online romance. There could be fake profile pictures, fake profiles, unclear motives, unbalanced emotional people, and unclear past behaviour, and mostly those are the people who are on the lookout for just a sexual relationship or planning to extort money.