First off, you may be asking what is Sextortion? The word itself is a combination of the words “sex” and “extortion.” And the definition is related to the illegal demand of money from the victim after a(n attempt of a) sexual act has taken place. However, it doesn’t actually mean sex happened, just a related act.
The referenced article below states “[a] U.S. Embassy official said American military personnel were among the victims in the United States.” Be assured, it’s not just American victims within the United States. For example, being law enforcement in the military dealing with felony-level crime, I have heard of numerous cases happening to members within the Pacific Theater (meaning they are assigned in Korea, Japan, Guam, Hawaii, etc). Everyone is at risk.
Here is one of the sextortionists’ basic ploys (yes, there are many). A very attractive female requests to be your friend on Facebook (or some other form of social media, but Facebook is popular, with a reason explained below). The two start talking and she becomes “very interested” in the male (all the cases I have heard of and read about were male victims, female subjects—but the reverse could be true). Once they seem to be getting along, the female will ask the male to use some form of video chat program (Skype is very common) and then they will continue talking. The length of time could be a few days to a month, but it all depends on how quickly this internet relationship can form.
And then, it turns risqué. The female will usually request the male to masturbate for her because she claims she wants to be aroused. For whatever reason, most males will submit to the request, perform the act, and then ask her if she likes it–sometimes it’s just one occurrence, other times multiple. Then sometime after that, that’s when the emails start coming in saying something to the affect of:
“Transfer $XXX to (this account) within X days or we will send your video of you masturbating to your friends and family. If you report this, we’ll also send the video”
Fairly embarrassing situation, right? They’ll usually be “nice enough” to include a small video clip or pictures to prove that they have the video and are intent on sending the video to people you know. And how might they know who his friends and family are? You’ve already told them on Facebook… having connections to “Mom, Dad, Sister, Brother, Cousin, Uncle”… all nice and neatly packaged for these “sextortionists” to manipulate you.
This will sound mean, but it’s true.
The best way to NOT be a victim of this type of sextortion? Don’t masturbate or expose yourself on a webcam (to someone you THINK you know). Most web chats can be recorded either through the application themselves or some other third-party software. In addition, while Skype chats are usually two-way connections that can’t be hacked into, nothing is infallible. On top of this, if you have a virus or other trojan on your system, they will see what you see on your screen. Furthermore, you should be careful who you add as a friend on Facebook. Why would some random “hot girl” want to be your friend? If it’s your spouse or significant other, the chances that they will try and extort you are low, but since someone might possibly be watching… do you want to take that chance?
With the rise of identity thefts, personally identifiable information (also abbreviated as PII) is one thing you should do your utmost to protect… whether it’s your name, social security number, address, phone number, family members, or even your private parts–especially online. The internet is really good at “remembering” things.
In the article I reference below, just one “gang” of sextortionists arrested in the Philippines targeted people in “Hong Kong, Britain, Australia, the United States, and South Korea.” It further reported that in Hong Kong, 470 people (reported that they) were victims. The unreported number is probably much higher because it’s embarrassing and no one wants to admit this happened to them.
So remember, if you:
(1) receive a friend request from
(2) a girl you have never met, and
(3) she wants to see your private parts…
(4) decline and delete her and/or
(5) report the incident to Facebook and/or the police.
(4) you will make a mistake you will regret and either
(5) pay $XXX to hopefully get rid of the situation (however they may come back later for more money), or
(5) your friends and family get an instructional how-to (sexual education) video where you play the leading role.
Make sense? Again… this can happen to females to, but as the majority of the cases have male victims, I have written it in a way that will hopefully be easy for (men) to understand.