6 Important Steps to Take as a Victim of Sextortion

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What to Do if You’re Being Targeted by Sextortion: 6 Steps to Take Back Control

What to Do if You’re Being Targeted by Sextortion: 6 Steps to Take Back Control

Apr 19, 2024

Sexual extortion – commonly referred to as ‘sextortion’ – has been described as an increasing threat by the FBI. In fact, the FBI warned of a “huge increase” in online sextortion schemes – particularly those targeting teenage boys – in August of 2022.

At Dordulian Law Group (D Law Group), we offer victims of sextortion 24/7 resources that extend beyond expert and aggressive legal representation. Whether it’s getting the content taken down/removed, filing a complaint with law enforcement, or contacting the social media or online platform hosting the material to report the incident, D Law Group’s sextortion attorneys are here to fight on your behalf.

Accordingly, we’ve put together the Top 6 Steps to Take if You’re a Victim of Sextortion.

We’ll review those steps below and then provide information on how to file a claim – whether you choose to proceed with a civil lawsuit, a criminal complaint, or both – to take back control.

What is a Sextortion Scam?

What is a Sextortion Scam?
More than 7,000 sextortion incidents have been reported to the FBI in recent years. In many cases, sextortion involves:

  • An online sexual predator asking for nude photos through a common platform like Snapchat, Instagram, TikTok, etc.
  • An online sexual predator then demanding cash to keep those intimate photos or videos private.
  • A vicious cycle of the criminal making continued threats/demands – and if the victim complies, the cycle only repeats itself.

Sadly, law enforcement officials estimate that 80% of sextortion victims never come forward (often due to shame or fear). Tragically, sextortion has led to a number of teen suicides, sometimes within hours of the predators soliciting money.

Have you been targeted by a sextortion scheme? Let’s review the steps to take which can ensure that you resolve the problem as quickly as possible.

Top 6 Steps to Take if You’re Victimized by a Sextortion Scheme

  1. Report the incident to someone you trust: If you’ve been victimized by a sextortion scam, it can be easy to blame yourself. But doing so can lead to further trauma, including adverse mental health outcomes like anxiety and depression (in some cases, victims tragically die by suicide due to shame, uncertainty, and fear of retribution). Sextortion criminals want victims to stay silent. This is why it’s so important that, as soon as you realize you’ve fallen prey to a sextortion scammer, you tell someone close to you. Whether it’s a parent, family member, friend, etc. – telling someone close to you will allow that person to provide the support and guidance you need.
  2. Do not engage with the online perpetrator: The moment you realize the person you’re communicating with is targeting you in a sextortion scheme, stop all forms of communication. The criminal will likely engage in a variety of threats, such as attempts at forcing you to pay to conceal any intimate images. They may also threaten to contact your family, to send explicit messages to friends, or to leak the images online. But by continuing to communicate with the sextortion scammer, you’re giving him or her the upper-hand. Don’t let them intimate you or trap you into a cycle of unending communication – this is their goal, and by stopping all texts/messages, you can better contain the situation.
  3. Save/document all communication (do NOT delete anything): If you’ve been the victim of a sextortion scam, your first impulse will likely be to delete all of the communication with the perpetrator. However, as tempting as this may be, it’s strongly recommended that you never delete anything related to the sextortion. In fact, documenting every message, threat, image/video, platform used, etc. will help you take back control and put an end to the scam. Again, while it may seem like deleting everything is the best course of action, you’re much more likely to help your case (and ultimately ensure that the criminal is prosecuted) if you keep all files and document all communication.
  4. Don’t give in to the criminal’s demands: Never send a sextortionist any money or give in to any of their demands. Taking the above steps will help ensure that the problem doesn’t worsen, as many victims attempt to pay off their perpetrators only to end up being caught in a cycle of financial hardship.
  5. Report the incident to law enforcement: Coming forward to report any type of sex crime takes a huge amount of courage – particularly when it involves sextortion. But the police and other law enforcement officials are here to help you stop the scam while also pursuing justice through identifying and prosecuting the criminal who has targeted you. At D Law Group, our in-house investigator – Moses Castillo – is a retired LAPD sex crimes detective. If you’re feeling hesitant about speaking with law enforcement regarding your sextortion case, Detective Moses is here to help. Reach out to D Law Group 24/7 at 866-GO-SEE-SAM to discuss your sextortion crime.
  6. Contact an experienced Los Angeles sextortion attorney for legal guidance: While law enforcement are a great resource after a sextortion scam, getting the justice you deserve may come down to hiring an experienced attorney who can help you file a civil lawsuit for financial compensation. Don’t be intimidated by a sextortionist who claims you have no options. Under California law, we can help you not only pursue justice but also potentially recover financial damages for things like emotional trauma, psychological harm, diminished quality of life, punitive damages, lost wages, and more.

How Can a Sextortion Lawyer Help Me Get Justice?

Dordulian Law Group (D Law Group) is a Glendale, California-based firm that specializes in all types of child sexual abuse, including sextortion, image-based sex abuse, and deepfake/revenge porn cases. We have experience with holding online predators accountable for their actions through aggressive civil lawsuits on behalf of victims like you.

D Law Group represents survivors of child sex abuse material (CSAM) both in California and throughout the United States.

Founded by Sam Dordulian, a former sex crime prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, D Law Group provides sextortion victims with a unique type of legal representation that includes a four-tiered group of dedicated professionals known as the SAJE (Sexual Abuse Justice Experts):

  • A team of dedicated and experienced Los Angeles sextortion lawyers
  • A retired LAPD sex crimes detective, Moses Castillo, with more than 30 years’ experience assisting survivors of sex abuse
  • A licensed clinical therapist with over 15 years’ experience
  • A licensed and accredited victim advocate

Additionally, we work closely with an outstanding nonprofit organization – Foundation Ra – that is dedicated to supporting survivors of all forms of image-based sexual abuse, including sextortion. Foundation Ra and attorney Sam Dordulian are working tirelessly to help victims of sextortion get their images removed from the internet while also securing justice and getting closure for such traumatic crimes.

What are Some Examples of Image-Based Sexual Abuse?

If you’re worried about the repercussions of coming forward to report a sextortion scam, the D Law Group team is here to help support you every step of the way. Contact our sextortion attorneys today for a free and confidential consultation by calling 866-GO-SEE-SAM.

Our Sexual Assault Justice Experts are here to help survivors secure justice. Contact our top-rated attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

Our California sextortion lawyers are standing by 24/7 to help answer any questions you may have. You don’t have to face the issue of sextortion alone – get the help, support, and aggressive legal representation you need immediately by contacting D Law Group today.

Go See Sam