Posted May 15, 2020
Since the onsight of the COVID-19 pandemic, hundreds of people have reported sextortion scams. In a May AARP article, these scammers are reportedly threatening to release “sexually explicit photos or videos of them (the victims) to their friends, family and other contacts — unless the target pays big bucks.”
According to the FBI, these scammers are saying that the victims have visited adult websites, cheated on spouses, or were caught in other compromising situations. The report claims that these scammers have victimized individuals of various ages from states including:
- An 85-year-old man in Illinois
- A 75-year-old woman in Delaware
- An 80-year-old man in Massachusetts
- An 89-year-old woman in New Jersey
According to the FBI’s Internet Complaint Center’s annual report for 2019, a total of 43,101 people reported being victimized by extortion in general, with losses of $107.5 million.
The FBI and related agencies urge those who are receiving these threatening messages, do not panic– and do not send money to these scammers.
The unfortunate reality is that these individuals prey on the elderly as they do not understand the systems in place for such crimes to occur. And even when the claims are false, they fear their reputations and those of their families may be at risk.
In addition, during an uneasy time such as the coronavirus pandemic, people are already fearful and worried about their futures and their loved ones. With fear, comes the opportunity to be taken advantage of, which we’ve already seen in many cases.
Don’t Fall For These Scams
The FBI has released the following guidelines following the spike in extortion claims:
- Do not open emails or attachments from unknown senders
- Monitor your banking and credit statements for unusual activity
- Do not communicate with senders of unsolicited email
- Do not save sensitive or provocative images or text on your mobile or desktop devices
- Use strong passwords and use different passwords for different accounts
- Never provide personal information to those individuals and third-parties you have never heard of
- Boost your social media privacy settings to the highest level possible
- Verify the web address before submitting your information or visiting the page
I’m the victim of a sextortion plot. I need help.
If you have fallen victim to a sextortion scam or any COVID-19 related scam, we urge you to contact your financial institutions to put a freeze on your accounts. Then, contact us. We are working with lawyers across the nation who can help you at this time.
Posted in COVID-19.