How to handle blackmail on Twitter
In the social media age, it's not uncommon for people to be blackmailed or coerced into doing something they don't want to do. This is especially true when it comes to Twitter, where people can be easily tricked or coerced into doing something embarrassing or illegal. In this post, we'll explore some of the ways people have been blackmailed on Twitter, and what you can do if you have found yourself in the unfortunate situation of being subjected to blackmail on Twitter
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As the internet becomes more and more enmeshed in our everyday lives, so too do the opportunities for criminals to take advantage of unsuspecting victims. One of the latest scams to emerge is blackmail on Twitter. This is where a person is contacted by someone they don't know, who threatens to release embarrassing information about them unless they pay a ransom. The most common way individuals are blackmailed on Twitter is when they are sent a direct message by a woman who offers to have a chat or who says she is looking for a relationship.
You must never respond to those types of messages and instead, you should block and report the sender to Twitter. The next thing that often happens is that the victim may start to chat with the blackmailer, first about day to day matters before the conversation becomes more intimate. It might sometimes take a few days for the conversation to become intimate as the blackmailer appears to be genuinely interested in having a friendly or a romantic relationship. Within hours or days, depending on the circumstances, the parties may exchange nude photos and videos.
The images that you receive from the blackmailer are unlikely to be of the blackmailer and are most likely to be fake images and videos, taken off the internet. However, by this time, the blackmailer would have gained your trust and will have in her possession your most intimate images.
First, the sex blackmailer is likely to kindly ask you for a small sum of money to help them with a temporary problem. Once you have sent them the money, the blackmailer is likely to now have your email address. They will use this email address to find out more information about you and to perhaps identify some of your family members, friends and work contacts.
The money demands will start intensifying and are likely to come more frequently. The bank account that the blackmailer has given you, is unlikely to be theirs and it is likely to belong to a third party, perhaps to a member of their gang. You are getting worried about how much longer you can keep this up for.
The blackmailer has threatened to release damaging information about you if you don't comply with their demands. You don't know what to do. If you go to the police, the blackmailer will carry out their threat. If you keep paying them, you will be bankrupt within a few months. You are trapped. You can't think straight. You feel like you're going to implode. You need to find a way out. You need to find a way to break free. But how?
If you find yourself in the unfortunate situation of being blackmailed on Twitter, there are a few things you can do. First, try to take a screenshot of the blackmailing message and any other relevant conversations. This can be helpful evidence if you decide to report the incident to Twitter or the authorities or if you want to take out a privacy injunction to stop the blackmail.
Next, try to calm yourself down and think rationally about what to do next. It can be difficult to make decisions when you're feeling threatened, but it's important to try to remain calm. If you can, reach out to a friend or family member for support and advice. If you decide to pay the blackmailer, do so with caution.
There is no guarantee that they will not continue to blackmail you even after you paid them a considerable amount of money. Seek legal advice from a trusted lawyer who is experienced in providing legal advice to individuals who are being blackmailed on the internet generally and on Twitter in particular.
There are various options available to you if you have been blackmailed on Twitter. Some are more costly than others, some are safer and some are more assuring. Your objective should be to remove the threat and at the same time protect your reputation and your privacy.
Report the blackmail to the police: You might consider filing a complaint with the police. However, in most cases, it is uncertain how the police might be able to help, considering the Twitter blackmailer might be located in another country and that his or her true identity is uncertain. Bear in mind that if you have privacy concerns, filing a complaint with the police might result in your privacy being compromised by the police as the police will be likely to ask to see your mobile telephone and any other computer devices that you have used to communicate with the blackmailer. There is likely to be information on your phone that you don't want the police to see for all sorts of reasons.
Furthermore, if you report the blackmail to the police this will mean that you will need to have a relatively high level of involvement with the matter and the police investigation is likely to last over a prolonged period of time and might end up with nothing. If you require a much quicker resolution to the situation whilst keeping control over the steps that are needed to bring the blackmail to an end, reporting the blackmail to the police might not be the best option for you. Report the blackmail to Twitter
Report the Twitter blackmailing account to Twitter: You can report the blackmailing Twitter account to Twitter together with evidence supporting the claim of harassment and extortion. This will almost certainly result in the blackmailing account being suspended. However, this might not stop the blackmailer from continuing to blackmail and harass you or from releasing your private images to the public. In fact, if you report the blackmail to Twitter, this could antagonise your blackmailer who might, in turn, intensify the blackmailing campaign.
Apply for an injunction against blackmail: The most effective way to resolve internet blackmail whether on Twitter or otherwise, is to apply for an emergency injunction for harassment and for breach of privacy. At the same time, your lawyer may also apply to Twitter via a court order to have the blackmailer’s account information released to them. Many Twitter blackmailers are lone wolves, opportunists who lack the sophistication to ensure that their own information is secured. A disclosure can also be obtained from PayPal, which is often the preferred payment method used by criminals. The emergency injunction will come with a penal notice which would state that a breach of the injunction could result in contempt of court proceedings which are punishable by imprisonment. The injunction will cover the entire world and could be enforced in other countries by local police. The point is that experience tells us that a blackmailer is highly unlikely to cause any further harm after they have been issued with an injunction.
Send the blackmailer a lawyers’ blackmail cease and desist letter: It might be sufficient for you to ask your lawyers to send your blackmailer a letter before legal action, or a cease and desist letter, warning your blackmailer about forthcoming criminal and civil proceedings against them if they continued with their threats. Your lawyer will advise your blackmailer that they have begun the process of having the blackmailer identified and explain the consequences to the blackmailer of carrying on with the threats.
Ideally, the aim would be to resolve the matter by way of a consent order, which is a voluntary agreement by the parties, on your part to not take the blackmailer to court and on the blackmailer's part to follow a number of steps that your lawyers will dictate. The agreement can be then stamped by a judge to give it a legal force similar to an injunction, but without the costs involved. Whilst this would be the ideal outcome, there is a fair likelihood that upon receipt of a lawyer’s cease and desist letter, your blackmailer will simply disappear. Whilst there are a number of inherent uncertainties about this route, the cost of it is likely to be much lower than the cost of an injunction.
You should not pay the blackmailer because paying a blackmailer only encourages their criminal behaviour. It also sets a precedent that you are willing to negotiate with criminals, which could put you in danger in the future.
Additionally, paying a blackmailer does not guarantee that they will not blackmail you again. In fact, it is likely that they will blackmail you again because they know that you are willing to pay. If you find yourself in a situation where you are being blackmailed, you should contact us immediately on +44 207 183 4123
It is difficult to make a general recommendation about whether or not to ignore a blackmailer. The decision depends on a number of factors, including the severity of the threat and the likelihood that the blackmailer will follow through on their threats. If the blackmailer is demanding a large sum of money, or if they make frequent demands for money whilst indicating that a refusal to pay might result in damage to your reputation or to your privacy, you should contact us immediately. You might need to buy yourself a little bit of time and we will advise you on how to do this.