Social media blackmail has escalated at an alarming rate and it’s safe to say that it’s not letting down any time soon. Social media is a tool to showcase people’s lives and interests with one another. That being said, it’s also a way that cybercriminals can create fake identities and manipulate victims into sharing personal information or content with someone they thought they could trust. Here are three social media blackmail cases we have worked on, so readers can grasp what social media blackmail entails in 2023.
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Case 1: The Instagram Blackmailer
A 25-year-old man from Colorado was blackmailed by someone who threatened to release nude photos of him unless he paid them $3,000. The victim had originally met this person on Instagram and thought he was speaking to an attractive girl of the same age. Initially, the conversation was friendly and flirty but quickly turned sexual when the blackmailer suggested exchanging intimate photos. Once the photos were exchanged the blackmailer used the photos to extort money from the victim.
The blackmailer provided dozens of screenshots of the victim’s Instagram friend list stating how they will all receive copies of the victim’s explicit photos if they weren’t paid. The threats were nonstop and became more aggressive until the victim became too frightened and gave in to the demands. After payment, the suspect came back and demanded more and more money. Unable to send more money the victim finally reached out to us for help.
Using our techniques and technology we were able to trace the blackmailer back to Lagos, Nigeria. Spooked that we uncovered his true location, we got him to provide video proof of deletion of the victim’s content and an agreement to end all contact and threats.
Social Media Blackmail Case #2: The Facebook Blackmailer
A woman was blackmailed by someone on Facebook who threatened to release explicit photos and videos of her unless she provided more intimate content of herself. The victim quickly recognized the content but was confused as to how this person obtained them knowing she never posted them anywhere. The victim realized she had originally only shared the photos and videos with a former partner, whom she recently separated from. Knowing this the victim was almost certain it was her ex-partner doing this but she had no proof being that the person sextorting her was hiding behind a fake Facebook account.
Since the victim believed her ex-partner was responsible for the sextortion, he was our top suspect. We looked into the profile of the suspect and gathered as much information as we could to help with deciding if the blackmailer and the ex are the same people.
Thankfully the blackmailer did not use a VPN to disguise their IP address which shows the user’s location. With the use of our technology, we were able to uncover the blackmailer’s IP address and the victim’s ex-partners and prove that they were the same, meaning the blackmailer was in fact the victim’s ex. We provided the victim with a full report of our findings and she provided that to the police. The blackmailer was charged with revenge porn and was given a restraining order.
Social Media Blackmail Case #3: The POF Blackmailer
A man formed a relationship with a woman on the dating site Plenty of Fish. The two hit it off although they’ve never met each other in person and formed a romantic relationship. Shortly into their relationship, the suspect began asking for ridiculous amounts of money daily. At first, the victim thought nothing of it and helped when he could. The victim, unfortunately, sent over 100k to his blackmailer thinking he was helping someone he cared for. Things took a turn once the victim could not financially support the suspect any longer. This is when the blackmailer bombarded the victim with threats of exposing his intimate photos and videos online.
We were able to trace the blackmailer’s location back to Manila, Philippines, and obtained the blackmailer’s identification. We provided the blackmailer with all of their incriminating actions and stated how they can face serious criminal charges for online sextortion and other crimes. The blackmailer complied and agreed to end all communication with the victim.
If you find yourself in this situation, remember that there are people who can help and that you are not alone. Take action by gathering evidence, contacting the police and blackmail experts, and securing your online accounts. And most importantly, do not give in to the blackmailer’s demands — no matter how much they threaten you.
We hope that our article “3 Social Media Blackmail Cases in 2023” will help you prevent blackmail on social media platforms.