How you can be blackmailed
Here are some examples of how you might be blackmailed.
Someone hooks you with a fake profile or ‘catfishes’ you
This is when they pretend to be someone they’re not, so they can scam you. It can happen really quickly – often they send a direct message with a ‘sexy pic’ they claim is of them. (But how would you really know? Have you ever seen them live on camera or face to face?) Then they ask you to send a naked selfie, or record you getting sexual online.
Next thing, they threaten to share the image or video with your family, friends or co-workers if you don’t pay them. Usually they ask you to transfer money, or send them cryptocurrency, gift cards or online game credits.
Someone claims to have hacked your device or account
They falsely claim they have ‘found’ intimate images or videos of you saved on your device or in your account. This person might even use one of your current or former passwords to make you believe it’s true, but you can never be sure if they really do have access.
Then they threaten to share the image or video they claim to have found, unless you pay up.
Someone ‘grooms’ you
This is when a sexual predator tricks you into thinking you’re in a close relationship, so you feel OK about sending nudes or getting sexual online.
They then say they will make the images or videos public, or hurt you or someone you care about, unless you send more nudes or get sexual with them on camera. Grooming usually refers to an older person forming a relationship with someone under 18, and a predator who does this is often called a ‘paedophile’.