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It felt too good to be true. The user, whose profile name was KellyCute , started sending Billy suggestive messages within minutes. But the experience quickly took a turn: Afterwards, the woman told him she had saved pictures of their brief cyber-sex session and was going to send them to everyone he knew, messages reviewed by MarketWatch confirmed.
Tens of thousands of Americans fall victim to online romance-related scams each year, according to the Federal Trade Commission. In , more than 21, romance scams were reported to the FTC, up from 8, in Romance-related attacks can range from scammers targeting victims they meet on dating apps for money — often claiming they will come to visit or inventing emergencies like a car breaking down or medical costs — to blackmailing attempts like the one Billy experienced.
It found 1 in 10 phishing s were blackmail or sextortion attacks. Today, Americans are twice as likely to be targeted in a sextortion scam than in a business attack, the report said. Alarmed, he immediately ed up for an on Xoom, a money-wiring service, while she watched through his shared screen. He sent the money that night. OkCupid warns users to be suspicious of anyone asking for money or requesting photographs. Generally, attacks are not as direct as what Billy experienced, Cidon said.
In most cases, someone will a victim claiming to have hacked them and say they have compromising photos. Even if a victim knows the attackers do have compromising information like photos, Cidon suggested never paying the ransom, as the attackers may simply ask for more money as soon as they know they have you on the hook.
Billy declined. He later noticed the he sent the money to was based in the Philippines. After sending him a series of threats, the woman stopped messaging him. He never contacted law enforcement or OkCupid because he was embarrassed and afraid the woman would retaliate. Tinder and other dating apps have been working to crack down on fake s since their inception. Economic Calendar Coronavirus Recovery Tracker.
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‘I was humiliated’ — online dating scammers hold nude photos for ransom in ‘sextortion’