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Sextortion is a universal cyber-crime that has brought in thousands, if not millions of dollars into the hands of sextortionists around the world, and has managed to become a full-time job to most of these criminals.
In order, to keep that success train running, companies are formed, creating a strong and organized foundation, to carry out their plot. Since sextortion scams have become so prevalent online, a lot of questions have been formed, who are these people, and where are they carrying out this malicious crime?
To answer that, some sextortionists work from The United States, but the majority are from foreign countries such as The Ivory Coast, The Philippines, and Nigeria, among others.
Based on cases we have worked on; we have seen these three countries become the most prevalent in sextortion and have been able to identify their strategies and ploys when targeting a victim. These criminalsmay be great at disguising their identity, but how well do they switch up their approach?
This article examines the common strategies sextortionists from The Ivory Coast employ when harassing their victims.
Sextortionists will often pose as someone who is seeking out a romantic partner, or someone to have some fun with. These criminals will add as many accounts online as they possibly can in order to reach more potential victims. The most common platforms they use to seek out their victims are Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, and Google Chat. They aren’t looking for anyone in particular when seeking out victims. A victim in their eyes is anyone who is willing to engage in conversation with them.
No matter how rich or poor you are, sextortionists will always try to get as much money from you as possible. However, if your posts show that you have some wealth, you may be more prone to blackmail. Once these criminals receive a response from their target, it’s game on.
The conversation will first start off friendly, with an introduction and few questions being tossed back and forth, but will eventually move its way to a spicier tone that leads to them offering an exchange of explicit content. It’s important to know that when these suspects are talking to their victims, they are also lurking their profiles for important information they can use against their victim, that can include: employer, community groups, friends, family, etc.
You can also expect them to begin screenshotting your friends list so that they have a list of people to threaten with your content once they have it. In exchange of content, you might use the platform where you met the suspect or the suspect might ask you to change platforms, this could be for a few reasons:
Tell Signs of the Ivory Coast
Once you have given into the temptation, and sent them a salacious video or image, is when things turn bad, fast. Luckily, we have dealt with a number of Ivory Coast sextortion cases and have found that their strategies are typically always the same and even script-like, giving us a greater chance in figuring out their location. The following are eight examples of their strategies:
The suspects will claim to have a sick mother and that is the reason they are committing this crime. They need the money to pay for her surgeries and conditions
Similar to the sick mother narrative, these suspects will send images of a baby in a hospital claiming they need help with their baby’s medical bills
Swear on My Mother’s Two Breasts:
This may sound bizarre or even funny but this is a common saying from The Ivory Coast. You can compare it to something we say like “I swear on my mother’s grave” The suspect will swear on their mother that if a victim doesn’t comply with their demands, they will expose them
Form of Payment:
When suspects ask for payments, they will typically ask the victim to send it through a specific money platform.When it comes to the Ivory Coast that may vary, but two forms of payment they typically ask for areWestern Union and MoneyGram.
In order to send money through these platforms you will need to provide a location, meaning you will get the chance to find out where your suspect is coming from
It’s apparent that the suspects grammar isn’t going to be the best, with French being their first language, so you will see a lot of broken English and grammar errors, some examples of that are:
‘Do you want to end this story well and good’
‘Relax and do what I ask, I’m gonna end it all’
Listen to me very well’
These suspects use google translator or other translating systems to communicate, butit’s fairly common for them to slip up and send their message in French. So, if you ever receive a message in French out of the blue, you should know they’re from The Ivory Coast
The Ivory Coast loves to play with photoshop and will send you fake images of your content being published. They will claim that they have posted your content on YouTube, Newspapers, Magazines, news channels and will provide photoshopped images ‘proving’ they’ve done it.
A dead giveaway these suspects give is their phone number. Some suspects will use their personal phone number to contact the victim, so you will know you are dealing with The Ivory Coast when you see the country code: +225
While sextortion is certainly a frightening experience, it’s important to remember that you are not alone.
This type of cybercrime unfortunately occurs all too often, but by being aware of the signs and taking precautions, you can make it more difficult for criminals to succeed. If you have been a victim of sextortion or any other form of cybercrime, we encourage you to reach out for help.
We are among many companies that specialize in dealing with these types of cyber-crimes, so feel free to give us a call or chat with us online, we are available 24/7 to take on your case. As always, we encourage you to report any suspicious activity to your local authorities and stay vigilant online.
We offer immediate, 24/7 assistance from our team of investigators.
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