DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers of a new type of online scam: sextortion.
John North of the Dayton BBB joined 2 NEWS Thursday to explain what you need to know to keep yourself protected.
He says the internet can be a wonderful tool to stay connected with friends and family, but also opens your information up to potential hackers and scam artists.
“What’s happening is, they’re finding our information online and they’re using pictures that we may have sent to someone, or making people think they have pictures of you and trying to get money out of you.”
Oftentimes, North says, these people do not have actual photos of you but simply want to scare you into coughing up money.
“They’re counting on you being vulnerable, we know people are very free with their phones, young people may send provocative pictures over to friends, which is illegal, but they do it, and so often-times many of the victims of this are children, though everyone can be a victim.”
Victims may receive an email from someone who says they have found such pictures, or have proof of their search history, and have video proof of the victim watching or doing inappropriate things through their computer’s webcam.
North says if you feel this may be happening to you, don’t panic, because usually the scammer has no real pictures or information against you.
In general, it is ill-advised to send compromising photos of yourself over the internet.
Never open e-mails or messages from someone you don’t know, and always make sure your webcam is turned off when not in use.