PSA: Sextortion Scam
Extortion or Blackmail email that I received
I received an extortion email. I have included screenshots. After a short Google search, I saw that this scam has been making its way around the globe. This post is just a public service announcement to warn people about the scam. I have also forwarded the email I received to an FBI agent.
The email agrees to purge my private information from a CIA investigation of pornographic images of underage children. To have my records purged before the CIA starts to arrest people, the email instructs me to:
“Transfer exactly $10,000 USD (ten thousand dollars – about 2.5 BTC) through Bitcoin network to this special bitcoin address:
The email address used is:
If you become aware of a scam, there are variety of resources you can use:
- Federal Bureau of Investigation – Internet Crime Complaint Center
- U.S. Department of Homeland Security – National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center
- US.gov – Report Scams and Frauds
This scam has been referred to as “Sextortion.” This is a bit of a misnomer. Generally, sextortion is a form of sexual exploitation that makes use of non-physical coercion to extort money or sexual favors from a victim. Actual sextortion may employ: an abuse of power as the means of coercion; or threats to release of sexual images or information is the means of coercion.
The email I received is better described as type of extortion known as “blackmail.” In blackmail, which involves extortion, the extortionist threatens to reveal information about a victim that is embarrassing, socially damaging, or incriminating unless a demand for money, property, or services is met.
18 U.S. Code § 873 – Blackmail
Whoever, under a threat of informing, or as a consideration for not informing, against any violation of any law of the United States, demands or receives any money or other valuable thing, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both.
Texas Blackmail or Extortion
Under Texas law, extortion (blackmail) is considered a form of Theft. These charges are prosecuted under Texas Penal Code Chapter 31. Depending on the value, these charges can range from a misdemeanor to a First Degree Felony. The particular email I have shared seeks to obtain $10,000. This would make the offense a State Jail Felony (value of the property stolen is $2,500 or more but less than $30,000) if the scammer actually obtained the $10,000. Because the scammer is not going to obtain the $10,000, then the charge might be reduced to an “Attempted” theft.