Sextortion Scam Via Facebook
[UPDATED BELOW 12/18/19] 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.
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 of him 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.
Think you are being extorted by a real woman? Think again! Read Luke’s story “Sextortion by Bot?“
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!”
RAISE YOUR AWARENESS ABOUT THESE OTHER SCAMS:
Online Dating Scams
UPDATE December 3, 2017:
A 21-year old college student was skeptical and cautious enough to dodge this scam… barely!
“I was currently reading your “Sextortion Scam Via Facebook.” After I was targeted by something very similar, so it’s still going on today. I was randomly friended by a “girl” that had 2 mutual friends with me. I accepted and no more than 10 minutes later, received the first message. The conversation was fairly innocent to begin with, but the bad English was the first red flag. I tried to be polite, in case it was an innocent inquiry, but then it turned sexual and that’s when I knew it was bullsh*t. “She” tried video calling me and at first I was just going to block her but my roommate convinced me to answer out of curiosity.
Here are the screenshots of their conversation: (left to right)
UPDATE 2/25/18: We recently heard from a 26-year old man who managed to dodge this bullet… barely:
“I’m a 26 year old Brazilian man, and almost got scammed by a fake girl profile on Facebook. The girl had one mutual friend, hidden friend list and only 5 photos from an Italian model (Anna Penello). She started a chat, with a clear Google translated text, saying she was a 27 year old French girl living in Texas. A few minutes after the first message she started a video chat. I covered my webcam and accepted the call. The girl in the video was almost naked and rapidly closed it asking me to turn my lights on. After a few attempts she blocked me. The fake profile: https://www.facebook.com/ibrahim.diaby.5477 “
Good thing this man had his camera covered! The Facebook profile he showed us had copied photos of Anna Penello. The profile had very few photos, no friends and little content. It was as if it had been made only a few hours earlier. See for yourself…
We were contacted by a 28 year old man who had just met a woman identified as Yella James on Facebook. He sent us a link to her Facebook account and several things caught our attention….
- There was VERY LITTLE information there and no photos (we logged into FB from another source to check). How normal do you think it is for a 20-something young woman to have NO photos?
- “She” only had 33 friends and ALL of them appeared to be male based on names and/or account photo, and most seemed to be in their 20’s and 30’s. Not a single woman was represented.
The man tells us that “Yella” immediately turned the conversation to sex as you’ll see in this text exchange…
“She” asked the young man for a sext video and then quickly threatened to publish it on Facebook, YouTube, and notify his friends and family. His reply was simple… “go ahead” and immediately ended the communication. So far as he knows, the video was not posted.
We were contacted by a young man who said he was “bored and single.” He signed up to use the dating app OkCupid and matched with a “female” and began texting. “Her” responses were human BUT she was very eager to get him to video chat, specifically via Skype. Let’s let him tell you his story…
“I got into Skype with them. It was almost an intelligent scam, because most people would see the footage I saw and probably be fooled. The scammer basically took footage from some woman’s private chat session. In this footage, the woman is being playful and undressing; however, there are some portions where she pauses her act to type (presumably to her viewers or chat…). During these portions the scammer typed to me over Skype, making it seem like the woman on video was the person I was chatting.
Anyways, as the call goes on, the “woman” wants me to strip. I ask her to hold up a peace sign (two fingers, middle and index finger, up). She doesn’t do it, but she kept asking me to undress. I didn’t undress, but I offered her a nude photo that I found online that just contained a penis.
The scammer asked several times if the photo was really mine or not. I didn’t understand why, and apparently the scammer didn’t either because after saying it was mine he began to share screen on Skype. He showed recorded footage from the Skype call of me on his shared screen, but he also showed himself sending messages to my Facebook friends with two photos, one screen shot of me from the Skype call and the photo of the penis I sent him. On the call, it looked like he was sending messages to my Facebook friends, and he was threatening to send messages to everyone. I don’t even know how he had access to my friends, because I have that as private on Facebook. Anyways, I told him I didn’t care, the photo is obviously not mine, and that I’m fine admitting to other people that some oddball online is trying to blackmail me and to ignore the photos. After seeing that he had access to my friends despite having it as private, I decided that I was too spooked and blocked him on Skype (which deleted the conversation entirely, which was really dumb in hindsight because that was my proof in case he ever did try to blackmail me).
It turns out that the two people I saw him message on via share screen on Skype actually didn’t receive a message. I asked them, and they had no idea what I was talking about.”
Think you are being extorted by a real woman? Think again! Read Luke’s story “Sextortion by Bot?“
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