With the rise of the internet, crimes and fraud have adapted to a new medium. Unfortunately, what this means is that criminals can now target anyone, anywhere in the world. One of these crimes is called “sextortion.” Sextortion is a type of blackmail where someone threatens to release private and sensitive information about you unless you give them money or something else that they want such as nude images or videos. In this blog post, we will take a look at some real-life sextortion scam examples and give insight on how you can avoid becoming a victim yourself.
Sextortion Case One: Ashley Reynolds
14-year-old, Ashley Reynolds loved sports, excelled academically and socially, and kept a journal she intended to read later in life. But what happened in the summer of 2009 was so devastating that she could not bring herself to write about it or even talk about it.
As a victim of sextortion, a growing Internet crime that targets young girls and boys, her life was turned upside down by an online predator who took advantage of her youth and vulnerability to terrorize her. Ashley was contacted online by someone who claimed to be a teenage boy with embarrassing pictures of her. His screen name was CaptainObvious, and he threatened to send Ashley’s pictures to all her Myspace friends unless she sent him nude images. Without considering the consequences, Ashley sent him explicit content. This is what the early workings of sextortion email looked like.
When Ashley’s parents discovered what was going on, they contacted NCMEC and the FBI. The investigation led to the arrest of Lucas Michael Chansler;26 years old. Using internet sextortion victimize over 350 teenage girls. He later pled guilty to multiple counts of child pornography production and was sentenced to 105 years in prison.
Sextortion Case Two: Stranger Danger
Keep on reading about the next teen sextortion example case.
She never left her room, the doors were locked, and the alarm was on, but a child predator managed to reach her simply because she was tricked into connecting with him online. It began as a friendly exchange over a popular messaging app, where they exchanged occasional messages and pictures of their outfits. K.C., whose real name was Justin Richard Testani, used A mildly revealing photo of her and threatened to share it and spread rumors about her if she refused to comply with his demands.
With nowhere to turn she reached out to her parents for help. When her stepfather saw what was happening on her phone, he immediately called the police. As a result of her bravery in reporting, investigators were able to locate the man who terrorized her. Having pleaded guilty to child sexual exploitation in February, Testani was sentenced on August 6, 2020, to 60 years in federal prison. The name of the child was removed to protect her anonymity.
How to Protect Yourself from Sextortion
The best way to protect yourself from sextortion is to be proactive about your online security. Here are some tips that you can follow:
- Never give out personal information online: This includes your full name, address, phone number, etc. Be careful about what information you share on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Remember that once something is posted online, it is very difficult to remove it.
- Don’t send nude photos or videos to anyone online: Even if the person says they will delete them after seeing them, there is no guarantee that they will do so. Once something is sent online, it can be copied and saved without your knowledge.
- Don’t open email attachments from someone you don’t know: These attachments may contain viruses or malware that can infect your computer.
- Report any sextortion. You can file a report with your local police department and online to the FBI’s crime complaint center.
We shared with you these sextortion cases. They have one thing in common: both victims got help. They were both brave enough to speak up. 1 in 3 victims remain silent, by reporting the crime, the sextortion nightmare was able to end.
Sextortion is a serious crime that can have devastating consequences for victims. However, by taking some simple precautions and being aware of the dangers of sharing personal information online, you can help protect yourself from becoming a victim of sextortion. If you or someone you know needs help reporting sextortion reach out to Digital Forensics today. Comment or share your story below. Report sextortion if expert help is needed
Learn more about how to stop sextortion email.
What is internet sextortion?
Sextortion is a serious crime that can have lasting consequences for victims. The extorter threatens to share intimate images or videos of the victim, unless the victim pays up or agrees to more sexual acts.
How can I prevent blackmail?
- Post as little personal information about yourself as possible.
- Use your social media privacy settings
- Use a nicknames
- Never accept friends or follow requests from people you don’t know.
- Don’t click on links and download files from
- Cover your webcam
- Install good antivirus software
How to report internet sextortion?
Report the sextortion to the proper channels.
The first step is to contact the Internet Crimes Complaint Center (IC3). You can also contact your local FBI Field Office. If you are outside the United States, you can contact INTERPOL.
You should also contact your local authorities and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). These organizations can help you get the support.
The best option is to find someone who specializes in that type of crime.