Online dating scams blackmailed
He describes the techniques used to gain Heather’s trust as “grooming.”“Perpetrators like Dan often research their victims in advance so they can quickly engage them by sharing similar interests and viewpoints,” says Evans, who has a background in both law enforcement and cybersecurity.“They gain their victim’s trust by providing a sympathetic ear and by using overt attention, flattery, and charm.”Many victims blame themselves.To complicate matters, she and her husband of 11 years were going through a rough patch in their marriage.Feeling depressed and alone, Heather turned to Twitter as a social outlet.
“I was upfront about being married, but Dan was smart and funny, and talking with him filled a void in my life.”It didn’t take long for Dan to move the conversation from the public Twitter timeline to communicating discreetly with Heather through private direct messages.
Later, she learned he had also been catfishing several other women on Twitter.“Years ago, I was raped and I experienced the same feelings of being sexually violated,” Heather says.
“Again, it was done by someone I thought I could trust, but the difference is this time, the exploitation was made public.”In 2013, Cassidy Wolf of Temecula, California, received an email demanding that she either email nude photos of herself to an anonymous account, or agree to do whatever the email sender asked via Skype for five minutes.
But after she talked with her parents, her family decided the best course of action was to alert local law enforcement.
The police informed Wolf that her webcam and computer had indeed been compromised.“Apparently, this person had hacked one of my friend’s Facebook accounts and anyone who clicked on a specific link downloaded malware that allowed him access to their email, webcams, and social media accounts," Wolf says.Wolf’s personal computer was in her bedroom, and she learned that in order to remain safe, she should put tape over the camera.“He had footage of me undressing in my bedroom, and he continued to email me threats, saying he would post those photos online if I didn’t do what he asked,” Wolf says.