More filming.

Had a call yesterday asking if I can go back to the studio to do some more filming for the program I was originally interviewed for back in November.  That makes it a busy week for me.  Four hour train ride Thursday to the studio, a few hours of filming, may stay the night there and come back on the Friday or may have a train back the same day.  On the Saturday I set off for Vegas.  Still, at least it keeps me occupied.

So, is the correct term “sextortion”?

We talk a lot about blackmail scams, webcam blackmail and sextortion, and most people assume it’s the same thing.  But is it?  I’m really not sure if I’m honest.  Sextortion can be for money or other things, and that’s the issue.  It’s not just about the money.  Some do it for the thrill, some do it to get more from the victim, some do it for control.  The media likes the term.  Myself, I think that “webcam blackmail” better explains what it is.  What to others think?

African scammers are starting to use sextortion scams.

This is a worrying trend.  The numbers are still very small, but they are rising.  We know from experience that scammers in West Africa are much more tenacious with their victims.  The advice we’re currently giving of deactivating social media accounts for 2 weeks may soon need to be revised.  This works for the scammers from Morocco or the Philippines where over 95% of these scams are based, but won’t be enough for the West African scammers.  We are constantly monitoring the situation and changing our advice when new trends start to appear.  Those who are being blackmail scammed (or “sextorted” as the media refers to it) can get help and advice by visiting or which both lead to the page on dealing with these scams.

Phishing emails are impersonal.

This is a good way to spot a phishing scam email.  I mentioned in an earlier blog about hovering over links to see the true location, but this one is even simpler.  Beware any emails that start with a generic greeting rather than one that gives your name.  Scammers send these emails to hundreds, even thousands of people at once, so start them with “dear customer” or something similar.  Always check any emails that start this way, and don’t click on any links until you’re 100% certain it’s genuine.

The difference between catfishing and romance scams.

The media tends to use either phrase to describe a romance scam, but they are in fact very different beasts.  A catfish is usually done as a way to have control over the other person.  It’s not about money, but about making a person act in ways they want them to or to control their emotional state.  Some do this as a “game” and even see it as fun.  Romance scams on the other hand ARE all about money.    The primary goal of the romance scammer is to get money from their victim.  Anything else is incidental to that.  Break their heart, ruin their life, doesn’t matter so long as they send the cash.

(Not really) dying for you to send them money.

Ever heard of a dying widow scam?  It’s when the scammer claims to be a rich widow with an incurable disease and asks for you to distribute their money to the “motherless orphans” (are there any other types?) when they die.  They then ask you to contact their solicitor for details.  And here’s the scam part.  To get the money, you need to pay all sorts of legal fees.  Don’t fall for it.

This is what a typical lottery scam looks like.

Notice the way they give you the amount as a number as well as a figure, plus the +4470 phone number.  And of course, the fact they’re claiming you won a lottery you never entered.  All typical scammer stuff.


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