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What Is Sextortion?

What Is Sextortion?

            We’re sure you’ve heard the word by now – sextortion, the online blackmail scams that are becoming all-to-common in today’s internet-driven age. Sextortionists lure in victims with promises of romance or sexual encounters. Only to turn around and demand money or favors once their mark has made the mistake of sharing private content with them.

The platforms you may find sextortion scams operating on are known, and many: there’s facebook sextortion, sextortion on Instagram, sextortion on Snapchat, sextortion on Tinder, sextortion on WhatsApp – and so on and so forth. Essentially there’s no such thing as a platform that couldn’t be used to set up or perpetuate a sextortion scam. So, what is sextortion? How did it become so common? How do you report or stop sextortion? We’ll touch on all this and more – read on!

The Basic Principles

  What you may not realize is that sextortion does not refer to one type of scam.  But a family of confidence-based scenarios all designed around the same basic principles:

  • A victim is contacted by the sextortionists, or the perpetrator, on a platform they are active on.
  • The perpetrator, through various means and methods, gains the trust of the victim.  Typically by posing as an attractive potential romantic partner.
  • The perpetrator pulls for information that will help them cross-reference the victim to other social media platforms.
  • The perpetrator will move the conversation in a more romantic or sexual direction. Typically offering intimate images in exchange for the same from the victim.
  • Once the perpetrator has the victim’s content, they lay out the blackmail. Money (or sometimes favors) in return for not releasing the content to friends, family, or the public.

Most sextortion scams follow these basic principles, if not in practice, then at least in ethos. As we mentioned before, though, there are multiple variants to sextortion that operate in slightly different ways.

Types of Sextortion

            When asking ‘what is sextortion’ it’s important to remember, as mentioned previously, that it’s not a single type of blackmail. It’s a family of illicit activities that are being built and iterated upon over time and varying platforms. Let’s talk about some of them, and some of the key differences between them.

  • Sextortion on Social Media& Chat Platforms

Referred to simply as sextortion, this method most closely follows the basic principles we laid out in our previous section. Platforms are wide and various, and can include Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok, dating apps like Tinder or Grindr, even Skype and Discord are not safe from sextortionists.

  • Online Romance Scams

This is the ‘long con’ of sextortion set-ups. Typically victims don’t even realize they are victims until well into the scam. For how slow a burn it can be. Usually, these scams start as a successful match on a dating application that turns into conversation over a long period of time.

The topics don’t turn sexual immediately, and almost follow a normal pattern of conversation. The biggest red flag to look out for though is that the person you’ve matched with will typically claim to be a member of some group that’s stationed overseas, whether it’s the military, peace corp, or some other fitting descriptor.

The other red flag to watch out for is that, unlike regular sextortion, these scams won’t resort to blackmail unless as a desperate last step. Typically, these scams prey on romantic confidence, where sextortionists will promise to be with the victim once they return from overseas – they just need a little money to get through this one project, or to clear their passport, or to send a package or…you get the idea.


We offer immediate, 24/7 assistance from our team of investigators.

  • E-Mail Sextortion Scams

Sextortion scams enacted by e-mail, simply termed e-mail sextortion, are also slightly different from a tactical standpoint. Sextortionists will cold-contact potential victims either after or in hopes of compromising their system, via e-mail.

How to Report Sextortion?

The perpetrators will claim they have stolen the victim’s pictures. More commonly that they’ve hacked their webcam while the victim was privately enjoying some ‘adult content’. These scams are thankfully becoming less common, thanks to ever-improving spam and junk filtration from big e-mail providers, but they do still occur. While these are less frequent, they’re all the more concerning due to the element of potential malware/spyware and general security concerns.

These are just some of the prime examples of sextortion – as technology evolves and new platforms emerge, new variations of the scams emerge. It can also be difficult sometimes to immediately be able to tell whether or not the person you’re in contact with is in fact someone out to scam you –if you or someone you know is experiencing a situation involving a blackmail, we encourage you to reach out to experts for help, advice, and service to assist in putting a stop to it.

Our company is available 24/7 to take a case.  We have a high track-record in handling this type of crimes.  In the meantime, we recommend visiting some of our other guides. So that you know how to remain safe and educated in your online adventures.

For more information, or to seek assistance with a situation of online blackmail, reach out to our sextortion helpline – we’re available 24/7 for your support. Now You Know What to Do If You’re Being Blackmailed Online.


We can help you with different types of blackmail or sextortion. Here you can report:

Facebook Blackmail (Facebook Sextortion)

Instagram Blackmail (Sextortion On Instagram)

Snapchat Blackmail (Snapchat Sextortion)

Its time to act now. Don’t hesitate. If you’re a victim this situation needs expert help

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