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Watch For Scams Newsletter. Sextortion Assistance Scammers
May 01, 2023
Sextortion Assistance Scammers
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Sextortion Assistance ScammersSextortion, the act of blackmailing individuals for cash in return for not leaking sensitive imagery and videos, has been a problem for many years. Sometimes it’s done by criminals, other times it’s by people known to the target. The imagery may be stolen from online cloud storage, leaked from a server, or obtained by compromising a PC with malware. The end result is the same: blackmail, and the threat of sending the images to friends and family, or just dumping them online.
A sub-industry of sorts has grown up around the sextortion marketplace. Companies which can supposedly help you remove sextortion content or shut down blackmailers, offer to help those in need of assistance. These organisations may be contacted by the victims directly (for example, via adverts or search engine results) or they may make contact by another method.
Some of these entities are involved in the sextortion attacks themselves. However you stack it up, these supposed businesses have no real way to get material taken offline and kept offline. Unless the people holding on to the stolen content are somehow chased offline forever, there’s nothing stopping them from putting it back or reconnecting with their target.
How to spot a sextortion assistance scamSupposed business entities may lean into your sense of fear, shame, and desperation to get the problem “solved”. In other words, they’ll act in a manner very similar to those performing the extortion in the first place. Signs to watch out for:
1. A company representative contacts you and offers assistance services for which the company charges fees;
2. The company advertises sextortion assistance in exchange for fees;
3. You are asked to pay the fees before the assistance services are rendered;
4. The company requires you to sign a contract for their services;
5. The company representative discourages you from contacting law enforcement or tells you contacting law enforcement is not the best way to get help;
6. The company uses high-pressure or scare tactics in an effort to secure your business; or
7. The for-profit company claims to be connected to government or law enforcement officials.
Tips for dealing with sextortion1. Don't panic. If a scammer tells you they have compromising images of you and they show you no evidence of the images, they probably don't have any. Offering "proof" such as a password or phone number of yours just means they've got that data from a breach, and doesn't mean they have access to your computer or webcam.
2. Don’t engage: report. If you’re shown evidence of stolen images, report to your local authorities and the FBI as soon as you can. Never engage with the sextortionist.
3. Be cautious about what you say to someone online. When asked certain questions, be vague and never give specifics. Remember that online, people can pretend to be someone they’re not, and can even look and sound like a different person with today's technology.
4. Personalize your security and privacy settings. Lock down your accounts as much as you can, and keep as much hidden from public view as possible.
5. Data is typically forever. Remember that once you send something to someone—whether they're a stranger, a romantic partner, relative, or friend—you have no control over where it goes next.
If you believe you have been a victim of this type of scam you should promptly report it to the IC3's website at www.IC3.gov. The IC3's complaint database links complaints together to refer them to the appropriate law enforcement agency for case consideration.
Remember - always watch for scams!
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