Video Blackmail

VSee has received a number of support tickets concerning internet blackmail through the use of Video. While this affects all kinds of services and all types of platforms, we would like to express our apologies for anyone that this happens to and give some suggestions as how to proceed.

Please keep in mind this is by no means an exhaustive list, and your mileage may vary depending on your personal situation. In the end it all comes down to common sense.

Description of the scenario: Some unknown person has contacted you and after some time convinces you to disrobe or otherwise implicate yourself over video. 
Soon they'll contact you and threaten to release the recording of this video to your facebook friends or youtube etc. unless you pay.

Misconceptions: While VSee allows recording, it is by no means the only way. There are hundreds of software products out there that can be installed on a PC to record audio and video on a desktop, as well as off-screen cameras that could record the interaction. You would never know. Anything you send over the internet should be considered 'at risk'.


Suggestions (from an anonymous poster on Quora)

First principle: you will not pay, full stop.
In my case, the scammer claimed that she will delete all videos and showing me she doing that on Skype video. Needless to say, it is impossible to confirm by any means that a digital material is truly deleted, so the "promise" is completely empty. If you pay money, you only proved that you are vulnerable to blackmailing and it is very likely that you will be blackmailed again for the same video. HOWEVER, you should pretend that you are willing to pay (see later section)

Immediately inform your social network friends and tell them the truth.
This is the hard part, and is embarrassing; however sometimes you just have to take a hit, but you can choose where it hits and the damage can be contained.
Tell them that you have been sex-scammed and beware of any video links. I did that, and many close friends are extremely understanding and supportive; no-so-familar friends don't really care, they would just ignore your message and totally forget about it in a few days - after all you are not Kim Kadashan and no one is interested in you naked. Besides, it is much less impact by telling them that the video is ugly and they don't watch it, instead of they unknowingly open the video and had a shock. But hopefully, it won't come to that. Read on.

Be calm and gather the scammer's finance details
So the scammer wants money and it won't be a face-to-face transaction. She must use a finance facility for this. All finance facility that supports International Transfer would require identity to-some-degree and will not allow complete anonymity. In my experience, the scammer requested West Union transfer; West Union is not a safe finance facility however the receiver still needs to provide some level of true details. Trick the scammer into giving the details. In my case, the scammer was extremely nervous about this and is only willing to give me the West Union transfer details at the last minute (i.e. right before me submitting the transfer form); she  asked me to take photos of myself being at the West Union outlet and the transform form to strictly track my progress. However I managed to fool the scammer by Google Image photos.

Use your leverage and counter-negotiate
So here is your new negotiation terms: I have your financial details now. You don't send my video and I won't report you to the police. Also tell the scammer that you've already informed all your friends and they will not receive links from strangers.
The scammers are not seasoned criminals. They are just minor third-country poor thugs. You are not facing Joker here. In my case, the scammer completely broke down when I told her that I tricked her giving finance details and has no intention to send her money. The chances are, after they see that they've failed they will not risk sending any links - they won't get any benefits but exposing themselves unnecessarily instead.  

Use Google Search Engine to search your name and take down any videos,  just in case
Popular non-porn video sites such as YouTube strictly forbids pornographic videos, once reported it is taken down in a matter of minutes and the publisher will be banned. Even if the scammer does post the video, the damage can be well-contained. Search your name in Google in the next 1~2 weeks after the incident, just to make sure. On the other hand, if your embarrassing video is in fact uploaded (worst case scenario) but can't be reached by search engines - it is not uploaded.

Move on
The scamming is despicable but it is important that you move on. Remember that your friends will not in fact take it as seriously as you do and will forget it very soon. Remember all those Hollywood stars who got a sex scandal/sex video leak? It maybe a story for a month but then people forget about it. And you are no Hollywood star. Move on. Be cautious so that you never fall in the similar traps again.

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