Being Blackmailed for Money on Facebook? Here's What to Do

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Peter T. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I have a friend who recently met someone on Facebook. For sake of argument I'll refer to my friend as Bob and his romantic interest as Tina. Bob says he received a friend request from Tina two days ago and after only 10 minutes of text messaging, things started getting hot and heavy. Tina then asked Bob to go into a video chat; as soon as he entered, Tina was already naked and playing with herself. During the chat, she stopped to message him a few times, though never spoke any words. Each time, she asked Bob to reciprocate by showing his privates, including his face.

In a moment of weakness, Bob agreed - and that's when the video chat stopped abruptly. Tina then demanded that Bob send her $15,000 using either World Remit / CashApp / Ria / MoneyGram / Western Union, etc. Bob says he's managed to get the price lowered to $300 - which he's already paid - but now Tina is asking for more or the video will go live. So far, he's sent the money to Ivory Coast, Africa. In an unrelated note, Bob says he's also sent money to another lady in the Philippines.

Tina has already added all of Bob's family and friends into a group chat on Facebook and is now threatening to release the video - as proof, she's sent him pictures of the group chat, even though Bob took his account offline. She says that if he doesn't send $2,000 by tomorrow, she's going to upload it to Youtube as well. I've been subscribed to your website now for over 10 years and I know you are the man when it comes to dealing with online scams. Can you PLEASE HELP? "

My response:

This is a scam, also known as "revenge porn", or "Facebook blackmail scam", "Google hangouts blackmail scam" or "online romance scam".

Here's how it works:

Either the victim receives a random SMS text on the cellular phone (usually from a local phone number, where the perpetrator is pretending to be someone that innocently texted the wrong number), or the victim will receive a seemingly random friend request on Facebook, Instragram, Google Hangouts, and similar social media services. In the latter case, the online Facebook profile is made to look attractive to bait as many people as possible.

If text messages are reciprocated and/or the friend request is accepted, scammers continue to bait the victim over the next few days or even weeks. They will begin by saying that they are "lonely" and "looking for a good man", etc. As soon as the online relationship escalates past simple flirtation, scammers will convince the victim to show their body parts below the waist including face. Once that's done, scammers will make threats to blackmail you online Facebook and similar social media services, exposing more than just your identity to the world to see.

Update 20210224: I'm getting a lot of emails from folks that have been blackmailed on Facebook, Google Hangouts, Instragram, WhatsApp, Whisper, Omegle, Adult Friend Finder, etc. If you need help with this, contact me now using our online form and I will make them go away. IMPORTANT: please note that my service is paid support due to the large volume of requests I receive and time required to mitigate each individual case (typically 1-3 days). Please don't forget to leave your phone number on the contact page. I know this scam inside and out and have been dealing with various online scams for over 7 years. In short: I know exactly what to do and will provide you with various mitigation techniques designed specifically fit your case. You can review my credentials here and read more about my services here. Consultation with me is free over the phone - contact me now.

IMPORTANT: If you've already paid the scammers, there is an EXCELLENT chance I can get your money back - even if you wired the money overseas.

Being Blackmailed on Facebook? Here's What to Do

Sometimes, scammers will ask for gift cards as way of payment for professing your love - usually in small amounts at first.

As strange as it may seem, gift cards act as a global online currency (instead of cash or credit) because one you give out the PIN number, the cash amount can be immediately redeemed online using various web services. Sending gift cards this way is akin to using Western Union - once you send the money, it's gone and there's no way to get it back.

The more aggressive scammers, however, will ask for $10,000 or $15,000 - and even more - up front as hush money. Many of the clients I've spoken to have "made a deal" with the scammers for a lower amount. Once they've paid it, however, the scammers contact them the next day and ask for more money. The truth is, they will never stop asking for more.

Here's the kicker -

If you don't agree to pay up, scammers will threaten to post photos or videos of you in the buff online, in your neighborhood, to your wife, girlfriend, family members, on YouTube, and even post said pictures all around your city. They'll even send a poster of you labeled as a pedophile, threatening to share it to the world. I've even seen a picture of a client posted on a fake green screen behind a female news anchor - imagery likened to broadcasting the client's private information over a news network.

The best advice here is don't pay them at all. Unfortunately, for most folks reading this article - this advice is too little, too late.

Update 20210224: I'm getting a lot of emails from folks that have been blackmailed on Facebook, Google Hangouts, Instragram, WhatsApp, Whisper, Omegle, Adult Friend Finder, etc. If you need help with this, contact me now using our online form and I will make them go away. IMPORTANT: please note that my service is paid support due to the large volume of requests I receive and time required to mitigate each individual case (typically 1-3 days). Please don't forget to leave your phone number on the contact page. I know this scam inside and out and have been dealing with various online scams for over 7 years. In short: I know exactly what to do and will provide you with various mitigation techniques designed specifically fit your case. You can review my credentials here and read more about my services here. Consultation with me is free over the phone - contact me now.

IMPORTANT: If you've already paid the scammers, there is an EXCELLENT chance I can get your money back - even if you wired the money overseas.

Does Closing Your Social Media Accounts Work?

I get this question asked quite a bit. The answer is that, yes, closing your social Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc is a good idea because you don't want others looking you up online, especially if the video or picture of you in the buff is uploaded online for the world to see.

Unfortunately, this isn't enough to stop the scammers. As soon as you engage them, they download all of your social media information (Facebook, etc) and store it on their computer. So, even if your account is offline, they still know how to get in touch with all your friends and family in order to expose you.

Do Scammers Follow Through with Threats?

This is another question I get asked a lot.

The simple answer is: Yes, they do follow through - but not always. The probability of the scammers following through with their threats is a 50-50 chance, and it largely depends on who you're dealing with.

Here's why -

What is important to understand is that this scam is being carried out by a large criminal organization. Not every scammer plays the same game and they don't follow a set of rules. What I can tell you is that, as of May 3, 2021, I've had 5 clients exposed in the last 4 weeks.

In one case in particular, the scammers created a fake Facebook profile using the client's name and profile picture (even after the client took down his Facebook page). The scammers then proceeded to contact 20 of his friends and family - pretending they were him - and asked for his wife's phone number. Of course, this sounded very bizarre, and most of his friends knew something wasn't right and did not cooperate with the request.

However, eventually the news of the requests made it back to the victim - including his wife.

Feeling Overwhelmed? Not Sure What to Do? Need Help?

Since I've posted this article originally last year (now updated February 2021), I've received a lot of emails from folks asking for help.

If you are being blackmailed online Google Hangouts, Instagram, Pinterest, SMS Texts, or Facebook, contact me now using our online form and don't forget to leave your phone number. I will call you back as soon as possible. Note that I receive a lot of requests for help; as such I will need to be paid for my time as it will take anywhere from 1-3 days to mitigate your case.

I have a very high success rate in making the scammers go away as I have been dealing with this scam and similar scams like it for over 7 years. Because of the nature of the topic, I promise to be professional and discrete. If a phone call isn't possible, I can help by email but this method of communication may take longer to process.

And don't forget: if you've already paid the scammers, there is an EXCELLENT chance I can get your money back - even if you wired it overseas.

Put Your Trust in Me through Years of Experience

I am a senior systems administrator, IT technical analyst, and computer programmer. I have nearly 40 years of computing experience, 20 years in IT, and hold a degree in Computer Science from the University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. I have owned and operated this website for over 20 years, published over 2,000 articles online, published 6 books, and I have helped thousands of people through email, by phone, and by remote desktop support.

Aside from publishing tech-related articles and providing tech support by phone and over the Internet to businesses and end users around the world, I have been dealing with online scams (mostly romance scams and tech support scams) now for 7 years and know them inside and out. I also have an excellent online reputation - feel free to search for my name using Google if you like.

You can also review my resume here. I am kind, compassionate, and willing to help - just ask! I also provide unparalleled service to my clients (see reviews here).

Additional Information

Here are some related articles from Facebook - updated February 24, 2021:

I hope that helps.

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About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of Infopackets.com. With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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