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How to Stop Sextortion Emails

How to Stop Sextortion Emails

If You’re Receiving Harassing Emails You May Be The Victim of Sextortion. In This Article We’ll Discuss how to stop sextortion email

Let’s paint a scenario. You’re enjoying your morning coffee one day, and you receive a notification from your e-mail that you’ve received a new message. The subject is simply ‘YOUR NAME’ in all caps. You open it.  Who could be sending you this to your personal inbox at this time of the morning?

What follows is a litany of run-on sentences, broken English, and threatening messages describing how someone has hacked your webcam and recorded you while you enjoyed some “private time” with some adult-rated content.

They even seem to know your username and hint at your password for ‘that’ website that you go to. Panic sets in when you see they’re demanding money in exchange for not releasing your “self-abuse” video to the world! Why couldn’t they be a Nigerian Prince looking to make you his millionaire beneficiary?

            This type of scam falls under the broad category of online blackmail known as ‘sextortion’, with this flavor of the scheme being ‘e-mail sextortion.’ This is a cold-contact scam, where unknown parties reach out to a mass of e-mail addresses that have been collected typically through illicit means such as data breaches or public information scraping.

The goal of the first e-mail is to check for activity and response – if you responded to the first e-mail, you may find yourself now receiving subsequent e-mails with increasingly aggressive demands and threats, and perhaps even ‘proof’. Here’s everything thing you need to know on how to stop sextortion e-mails, and what they mean to you.

What is a Sextortion E-mail Scam?

            On the whole, there’s worse online blackmail scams out there online. Sextortionists have been moving away from this particular scam, due to its lack of general effectiveness. This does not mean that there still aren’t scammer cells out there that use this strategy, but just that it’s becoming less common as people catch on.

The reason for the lack of effectiveness in this scam is that very frequently, thanks to the wonders of modern technology and learning algorithms. Roughly 90% of potential targets will never see the scammer’s message. Most popular e-mail clients’ are able to parse through spam and junk and eradicate it before it ever lands in any inbox.


            For the 10% who do receive the e-mail and read it, there’s definitely cause for some alarm.

Typically scams like these infer that the e-mailer has hacked the target’s webcam (use of which has become widely more prolific since the pandemic forced an uptick in remote interactions) and also usually includes some degree of ‘personal’ information about the target as well, usually presented in just a vague enough way to sound both menacing and mysterious all at once.

Usually attached to the e-mail is some kind of off-standard document type with a ransom demand and a Crypto wallet address, or other payment information. Sextortionist mail scammers use this tactic to lure responses from those who may be anxious enough to do so.

            Responding to the e-mail or sometimes even opening the attachment paints a target on a victim’s back. You may then become flooded with harassing attempts to get the ransom paid. Particularly, attachments to these e-mails may sometimes have malicious code attached to them, allowing the scammer to obtain exactly what they claim to already have.

There may or may not somewhere down the line even be ‘proof’ of the alleged material they have, thanks to their infiltrations. It’s enough to make your head spin – but don’t worry, we’re going to tell you how to stop sextortion e-mails.

The Steps to Take to Stop Sextortion E-mails

Our experts agree, these are the best steps to take when it comes to being sextorted via e-mail:

  • Do Not Engage With the Sextortionists

Simply opening the e-mail won’t typically get you into any hot water – responding to it may.

  • Do Not Download or Open Any Attachments

Sometimes even the best virus software won’t catch strings of malicious code embedded in files, should you contract a virus from an e-mail attachment. Malware and spyware are evolving every day thanks to bad actors, and sometimes it takes a bit of time for security software definitions to catch up. 

  • Put a Sticker Over Your Webcam

If the e-mail claims that they have hacked your webcam – even if they haven’t provided proof yet – closing any built-in shutters or putting a sticker over the camera’s lens can help bring you peace of mind that your private activities remain private.

  • Change Your Passwords(Regularly!)

This is just good internet housekeeping. Rotating and changing your passwords  is good practice.  Even more so if someone has indicated or inferred that they have account access information that they should not.

  • Seek Expert Help When in Doubt

Sextortionists come in two flavors:

  • the kind who give up when you don’t give a response.
  • and the kind that just get mad when they don’t get what they want.

If you’ve already engaged with a sextortionist, you may wish to seek expert help to assist with navigating the situation and potential fallout.

In summary, how to stop sextortion emails is linked intrinsically with not beginning to engage with them at all.

That said, if you’ve been engaged in communication with sextortionists or believe you may be a sextortion victim, consider reaching out to us. We’ve had more than decade in the field of cyber security and digital forensics. We know how to handle situations like these. Our team is available 24/7 to hear your case. Beyond that, you now have the knowledge of how to stop sextortion email.

We can help you with any type of online sextortion:

Facebook Sextortion

Instagram Sextortion

Snapchat Sextortion etc.