The Daily Scam is very sad to report a scam that seems to be targeting men on social media like Facebook, but then progressing to the use of Skype for video chatting. The scam can be summed up in one word… sextortion. UPDATED 11-20-17 below.
Sextortion is a form of blackmail. The victim is coaxed into exposing himself during a skype conversation with a newly-friended woman who appears to be interested in video sex. She manipulates the victim to include video of his face during their video exchange. Can you see where this is going? Read this post by a Reddit user who was scammed this way and then blackmailed not to post the video captured by the scammer…
"I friended someone on Facebook a couple days ago. They had one friend in common, and were saying they were in my same industry. Immediately after accepting their friendship, they messaged me. In the beginning it was harmless, idle chit chat. It then progressed to something with sexual undertones, eventually leading to an invitation to skype. Stupidly, I accepted... One thing led to another with me eventually pulling my [privates] out. She kept saying things like 'take your glasses off' and 'let me see your [privates] and face at the same time' type stuff... All of the sudden, the screen changed to a replay of my image/video being played back to me. They said 'Hahaha, I now have your naked photo and your Facebook contacts, give me $1500 or I send [it] to all your family, friends and coworkers!'."
The victim was told to purchase a moneygram and send it to someone named "Marvin Samsang" in the Philippines. Would you have done that to keep the embarrassing video from being posted and shown to all your friends, family and co-workers? And if you did respond to this blackmail and send money, what would you expect to happen next? That the video would be deleted? Read what the Reddit user described after he paid the blackmailer $1500…
"After he deleted my video, he said 'Ok, done. Now we have to do your Facebook contacts and pictures! $1500 for those!'. I told him I had no more money and wasn't going to pay him anything else, hoping he was bluffing. Well, the following morning, he creates a fake Facebook profile with my name and picture and friend requested my boss, parents, WIFE, some other close friends, past clients, etc. A few of them accepted thinking it was me, AND HE SENT THE F###ING PHOTOS! A few of my friends and my mother immediately call me within 5 minutes saying your Facebook is going crazy, as well as texting me the pics! I was mortified."
The Reddit user then described how he tried to make additional payments over the next couple of days to various names the scammer provided using Moneygram and Western Union. The scammer was threatening the victim continually through messaging, ultimately making his life miserable.
After a few days and more money going to the scammer, the victim said he was “DONE!” He finally said no more. He reported that it cost him a lot more than just money. Humiliation, embarrassment, and even depression. Now he hopes that telling his story will help other guys avoid it. His point, he says, is that you can never tell if you are being recorded. Our added point is that it is extremely easy to deceive others online.
On July 22 we received the following email from a 25 year old male...
"I was friend requested by someone named Michela Duran [on Facebook], I accepted, and moments later she sends me messages like "do you like sex baby", and of course I'm a 25 year old man. Shortly after messaging back and forth she convinced me to video chat with her, so I did. A beautiful woman showed up on the screen, naked, and kept asking me to show her my face and to show her my penis. I did. The video stopped and messages threatening to send the video of my face and penis to all my friends and family if I didn't pay $5,000 to an organization called AFH, Africans Fight Hunger. I laughed and told the person I didn't care if they sent the video because I'm a very open person and most of my friends and family have seen alot worse than my penis. I blocked the Michela Duran account and changed my settings so only I can see my profile. I did some modifications to my FB and got the videos they posted on my comments deleted, reported the account to Facebook, and nothing ever changed for me. Others, WATCH OUT!! IMPROPER ENGLISH IS THE FIRST CLUE!
This 25-year old's cavalier attitude is the best card to play against these scammers. It is work and time for them to go after you but by showing no anxiety and giving them no leverage to hold against you, you are able to diffuse a really nasty situation. Others have completely freaked out and gone through hell, even if they didn't pay the scammers.
On June 19, 2017 we posted the latest example of the "underage girl sext" scam:
Your Worst Nightmare: Sexting a Minor... Or So You Think!
UPDATE 10/23/17: Apparently this scam is still alive and targeting men. We have heard from a few men who inform us to be wary of ads posted on Craigslist's forums for casual sex. One man sent us a link to this listing, saying that he was targeted for sextortion after trading photos with the person who posted:
A TDS Reader contacted us on November 20, 2017 to report that the sextortionists targeted him, though it wasn't on Facebook:
"I met an id on a free chatting site. After initial discussion it moved to skype and said she was looking for fun.
I did undress but sensed something fishy and disconnected. Then I was shown my video. I was shown my Facebook profile and list of all my friends who will get the video. The scamster asked me to send $2500 to a Western Union account in Pakistan.
Petrified I tried negotiating and the amount came down to $1800 as final. During this time I read various web sites and then I refused to pay. The person then sends me the link to my video on Youtube. I deactivated my skype and Facebook accounts and removed my other social media so that the person cannot contact me. I also reported the video on youtube. Meanwhile I talked to my family and told them what happened and they stood rock solid with me. Hope this goes away with it. I swear to God to be careful online!"
Here are links to other similar scams from around the Internet:
In Online Dating, Sextortion and Scams – The New York Times
Ohio Cases Highlight Online Targeting, Sextortion of Teens – Yahoo.com
Men Being Targeted in Facebook Blackmail Sex Scam – The Irish Mirror News
Carpenter, 62, tricked into exposing himself online by mystery blonde and then threatened with blackmail - The Daily Mail