With the outbreak of his pandemic COVID-19, countries around the world have gone into lockdown mode, in an effort to tackle the health crisis. These conditions, however, have brought many limitations. One of them is the spending ban. This results in a large percentage of people resorting to dating platforms and online dating chats. With dating now an impossible option, people tend to make acquaintances through social media or specially designed applications. Dating applications such as This makes it a perfect choice for people with diabetes and for those who want to lose weight or follow a balanced diet. tinder, eHarmony and the new Quarantine Together, record a record increase in the number of their users. As SOCIAL MEDIA, but also applications video-meeting like Zoom used more than ever, the need for people to have sex can lead them to extreme or even hopeless situations. One such situation is sextortion.
In a recent case uncovered by Thames Valley police in the United Kingdom, a sextortion scam started quite "innocent": a young man received a message on Facebook from a woman who wanted to have a video chat with him. They spoke twice at Internet and his wife asked him to show his body. Although no "familiar" actions were taken at their first online meeting, police say the second conversation went further. The woman then blackmailed the young man into leaking the sensitive material he had secretly recorded during their conversation. In addition, he asked the victim for £ 200 (€ 225) not to send this "inappropriate" material to his family and friends.
The man refused to give her the money, and over the next two hours, she received more than 100 payment requests. Eventually, he turned them all off accounts and contacted the police.
The Internet has repeatedly proved to be a "convenient" ground for people trying to blackmail unsuspecting users in order to make money. The "baits" they use in their blackmail include sexual acts or photos with "sensitive" content. Sextortion is one of the most common forms of blackmail at this time. Some of the most common forms of sextortion are:
- Phishing emails: Emails claim to have seen your Internet history or your visits to porn sites and may also say that "Hackers" they had access to the webcam and recorded you.
- Phishing emails containing known passwords: The same is true of the first case, but by adding passwords that you use to online accounts that may have been leaked to data breach, to try and appear more legitimate.
- Revenge porn: Threats of "sensitive" photos or videos being leaked online, sometimes by ex-partners or other people you know.
- Internet of ThingsNest and Ring are violated so that hackers can convince the victims that they have illegal recordings.
Emotional scandals are the main ones: humiliation, fear, worry about friends, family or colleagues who may see such a video, and worry about the future impact that this material might have on your life.
A report by Thorn and the Crimes Against Children Research Center (CCRC) estimates that in 45% of cases where an offender has access to sensitive material, he executes his threat.
Ray Walsh, a cybersecurity expert at ProPrivacy, pointed out that anyone who receives such blackmail from an online contact should contact the police and refuse to send money to the scammer. He also stressed that when a scammer knows that a victim is willing to pay, he demands more and more money, and does not blackmail only once but more. For this reason, it is vital that victims contact the police and refuse to pay.