One of the fastest growing wrinkles in online crime is called “sextortion.” People are lured into sharing extremely personal photos or videos in an online conversation they think will remain private – only to find out they must pay blackmail money to keep those compromising images from being shared with a spouse or a boss. Those pictures might even end up on a website or all over social media if the blackmail isn’t paid.
Sextortion has been around for a while, but it has grown in frequency in recent years as people spend more and more time online.
Online blackmail is happening more frequently these days, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center.
The IC3 reports an increase in extortion attempts received via email and postal mail, often using the victim’s specific user information to add authenticity. The “recipient’s personal information is noted in the email or letter to add a higher degree of intimidation to the scam. For example, a recipient’s user name or password is provided at the beginning of the email or letter,” the FBI reports.