I was blackmailed on Facebook, how do I behave?

Who I am
Martí Micolau
Author and references

Have you ever heard of blackmail with the webcam? This particularly worrying phenomenon allows unscrupulous people to get rich by destroying the lives of some Internet users. The blackmail on Facebook it is in fact to seduce a person on the Internet and be able to have enough confidence to receive photos or videos of her in unflattering positions and then move on to the threat of posting them on the web (if we do not agree to pay the requested amount).

Girl scam on Facebook

Today, we explain how to detect what is called a "pasture", how to protect yourself from this type of scam and how to maintain your dignity in the event of an "attack".

Where does the blackmail on Facebook begin?

In most cases, grazers find their targets for theirs webcam scam on dating sites, but also Facebook is a good way to successfully find people vulnerable to such an attack. Some profiles are not secure enough and some private information is displayed in public mode. Browsing through hundreds of Facebook profiles, grazers find their prey (often teenagers) and start their dishonest work: the blackmail with the webcam.

What to do in case of blackmail on Facebook?

Il blackmail on the Internet it's a cliché. Follow these few instructions to avoid losing control.

The first thing to do is to ignore the threat and remove the scammer from your friends list so that he no longer has access to your personal information. If the profile is in "public" mode, it is absolutely necessary to switch to private mode. To do this, click on the "friends" on Facebook and then the "manage" tab and "change the privacy", a new window appears, be sure you are the only one who can see the list of friends by selecting "me only" in the drop-down menu. 

You will then prepare a message that you will send to ALL your contacts. You will explain that your accounts have been hacked and that they must not open an unknown message about you. It also specifies that the people who hacked your site only want one thing: to use a Trojan horse or to spread a virus. We strongly recommend that all your contacts never open an attachment with your name on it. By doing this quickly, you will avoid doing more damage.

Then you will have to make a copy of the messages you have written and received from this person and report it to the competent authorities, i.e. the Ministry of the Interior.

Under no circumstances should we give money to these people (who will ask for transfers to Morocco, Benin, Ivory Coast or other countries). Once the money is sent, nothing stops the scammers from keeping the video and asking for even more money a few days later, so the story never ends.

Scammed on Facebook? How can we defend ourselves?

Configure Facebook privacy settings

In general, it is recommended that you protect your Facebook account by giving the least possible access to your personal information to strangers.

  • Go to the settings menu by clicking the triangle at the top right of the Facebook profile page and click at the bottom of the drop-down menu on "Settings"
  • On the next page, click on "Privacy".
  • Set up your account making sure you don't show your sensitive personal information to everyone.

Apply the settings to old publications

Once you've set your privacy settings so that your content is only visible to your friends, you'll need to apply these changes to all your old posts.

It would be a shame if old publications dating back several months or years were still publicly visible and allowed criminals to identify some of your contacts.

  • Click on "Limit the audience of old publications"
  • Then again on the "Restrict old publications" button
  • Confirm.

Look out for a flaw that is used regularly

Also remember to delete your profile picture and cover photo. In fact, the comments, the likes, are public whatever the setting of the privacy settings.

Through this profile photo, criminals can find friends who have commented on or liked this Facebook profile picture.

Remove the Facebook account from the scammer

If the scammer has a Facebook account with which he harasses you on the social network, report this account to your friends to prevent them from asking for friendship.

Then report this fraudulent account directly to support by following these instructions: Report scammer account to Facebook support

While waiting for your account to be deleted, block it.

Hide your Facebook friends list

The first means of lobbying used when blackmailing Facebook is to threaten to send the video directly to your friends. Generally, criminals copy your Facebook friends list to initiate blackmail.

Depending on the privacy settings you have set, your friends lists may be visible to everyone. All Facebook users can then know who you are friends with.

  • Log into your Facebook account.
  • Go to your profile.
  • Click the Friends tab
  • Go to the top of your friends list.
  • Click the parameters button.
  • Then click on "Change privacy"
  • Once the window appears, choose the maximum level of privacy.
  • Then click "close".
  • The scammer can no longer access your friend lists.

Hide the Facebook groups we belong to

Go to your Facebook profile. 
- Group tab 
- Click on “Manage”: pencil in the upper right corner of the page. 
- Hide the section. 
- Renew the operation with all the other available sections.

Hide sensitive information in "Information"

"Information" is often a wealth of information to the scammer which can find very sensitive information ( employer's name, telephone number, spouse's name ... ) 
It is important to hide this public information, or even delete it if it is easier for you.

  • Go to your profile and click on "Information" next to your cover photo, under your Nickname. 
  • Click Overview to see what information is available about you. 
  • Edit any information to make it visible only to your friends. 
  • Renew the operation for any information.

If by any chance you have read this article for informational purposes only, perhaps to be prepared for any eventuality, know that the best thing to do is never to accept friendships from people you do not know.

Webcam scam, the duration of blackmail

Further Reading:

  • Blackmailed on Whatsapp, what can we do
  • Online Dating Scams - What Should You Watch Out For?
  • How to know who visits my Facebook profile?
  • What happens when you uninstall Facebook and Messenger
  • How to share WhatsApp status as a story on Facebook

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