How to Report Sextortion: A Step-by-Step Guide Featured Image

How to Report Sextortion: A Step-by-Step Guide

You’re not alone, and this is not your fault. We know you’re feeling overwhelmed, scared, and even ashamed right now. Your mind is probably racing with questions like “How could I let this happen?” and “Will everyone find out?”. Please hear us when we say – you are the victim of a serious crime, and you did nothing wrong. You did not cause or deserve this. You’re not stupid or weak. The person sextorting you is the only one to blame.

At Minc Law, we’ve helped countless individuals in your exact situation. We intimately understand the confusion, isolation, and fear you’re experiencing. When you’re being threatened and controlled by a sextortionist, it’s hard to think clearly or know where to turn for help. You may have trouble eating, sleeping, working, or even holding a conversation. You would do anything to make this situation go away.

We’re here to provide you with more than just legal guidance. We’ll be a source of strength, clarity, and tireless advocacy. Our experienced internet attorneys will guide you step-by-step through reporting sextortion to the right authorities and online platforms. We’ll be by your side the entire way, listening to your concerns and fiercely protecting your privacy and reputation. You have the power to fight back against sextortion, and Minc Law is here to help you do it.

What is Sextortion? Know the Signs

Sextortion is a form of blackmail where someone threatens to reveal intimate images or videos of you unless you provide them with money, additional content, or sexual favors. Sextortionists usually acquire this content by hacking your devices or tricking you into sharing it with them online. Then they make demands and threats, claiming they’ll send the content to your social media contacts, post it on porn sites, or otherwise expose you if you don’t comply.

Common signs of sextortion include:

  • A stranger online asking you to share nude photos/videos or engage in cybersex
  • The person claiming to already have intimate content of you that you don’t remember sharing
  • Demands for money, gift cards, or more explicit content to prevent your photos/videos from being leaked
  • Threats to ruin your reputation, get you fired, or harm your family if you don’t meet their demands

Sextortionists often target victims on social media, dating apps, and webcam/chat sites. They may pretend to be an attractive man or woman interested in you. Or they may claim to be an authority figure like a police officer or government agent. If any of these scenarios sound familiar, you’re likely a victim of sextortion. It’s critical that you stop all communication with the perpetrator and take immediate action to report their crimes.

Reporting Sextortion on Social Media and Online Platforms

Most sextortion occurs on social media and online dating/chat platforms. Reporting the sextortionist’s accounts and any content they’ve posted of you is an important first step in getting the threats and harassment to stop. Below are guides for reporting sextortion on the most common platforms:

Facebook

  • Go to the sextortionist’s profile and click the three dots in the top right corner
  • Click “Give feedback or report this profile”
  • Select “Pretending to Be Someone”, “Fake Account” or “Harassment”
  • Click “Next” and follow the on-screen instructions to submit your report
  • You can also report individual harassing posts and messages by clicking the three dots in the top right corner and selecting “Give Feedback” or “Report”

Instagram

  • Go to the sextortionist’s profile and tap the three dots in the top right corner
  • Tap “Report”, then “Report Account”
  • Select “It’s pretending to be someone else”, “It’s posting content that shouldn’t be on Instagram”, or “It’s harassing me”
  • Tap “Submit Report”
  • You can also report individual posts, stories, and messages

Dating Apps (Tinder, Bumble, Hinge, etc.)

  • Navigate to the sextortionist’s profile
  • Look for a “Report” or “Block” button and select it
  • Choose the reason for reporting, such as “Inappropriate Photos”, “Harassment”, or “Threatening Violence”
  • Provide any additional details requested and submit your report
  • Unmatch and block the sextortionist if possible

Snapchat

  • Go to the sextortionist’s profile and tap the three dots in the top left corner
  • Tap “Report” and select “They’re being abusive”
  • Choose the type of abuse (Harassment, Threats, Sharing Private Images) and submit your report
  • Block the sextortionist by tapping the three dots and selecting “Block”

Skype

  • Right-click on the sextortionist’s name in your contacts list
  • Click “Block” and then “Report Abuse”
  • Select the reason for reporting and provide additional details
  • Click “Submit” to send your report

Email (Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, etc.)

  • Open the threatening email and look for a “Report” button (usually marked by a flag or exclamation point icon)
  • Select the option to report the email as phishing, spam, or harassment
  • Delete the email after reporting it and do not engage further

If the sextortionist has posted your intimate images or videos on a website, look for a “Report” or “DMCA Takedown” link (usually found at the bottom of the page). Follow the instructions to report the content for removal. You can also contact the website host to report abuse and request removal.

How Do I Report Sextortion to the FBI?

A Detailed Walkthrough If you’re being sextorted, it’s critical that you report the crime to law enforcement. Sextortion is a serious federal offense, and the FBI has dedicated agents and resources to investigate these cases. Here’s how to file a report with the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3):

  1. Go to www.ic3.gov and click “File a Complaint”
  2. Read the information about filing a complaint and click “I Accept”
  3. Complete the Victim Information section with your name, address, phone number, and email
  4. In the Financial Transaction section, enter any payments you made to the sextortionist (if applicable)
  5. In the Description of Incident section, provide a detailed account of the sextortion. Be sure to include:
      • How and where you met the sextortionist
      • What platforms they used to communicate with you
      • What specific threats they made and how they made them
      • Copies of any messages, emails, or posts showing evidence of the sextortion
      • Links to or screenshots of any intimate content the sextortionist has shared
  1. Complete the remaining sections and click “Submit Complaint”

After submitting your complaint, you should receive a confirmation email with an IC3 referral number. Keep this number for your records. An FBI agent should contact you within a few weeks to discuss your case and next steps. Cooperate fully with their investigation and provide any additional evidence or information requested.

Dos and Don’ts of Preserving Sextortion Evidence

Preserving evidence of sextortion is essential for law enforcement to investigate and prosecute these crimes. Follow these guidelines to properly document and maintain records of your interactions with the sextortionist:

DO:

      • Screenshot all threatening messages, including names, dates, and timestamps
      • Save copies of any intimate images/videos the sextortionist has shared
      • Make a log of the sextortionist’s contact information, including email addresses, phone numbers, and social media handles
      • Record the URLs of any websites where the sextortionist posted your content
      • Maintain records of any payments you made to the sextortionist
      • Provide all of this evidence to the FBI and any attorneys or investigators working on your case.

DON’T:

      • Delete messages, images, or other communications from the sextortionist
      • ALTER or edit message/image screenshots in any way
      • Engage in further contact or make additional payments to the sextortionist
      • Post publicly about the sextortion or perpetrator, as this could compromise the investigation
      • Confront or threaten the sextortionist yourself
      • Blame or punish yourself for what happened

You’re the Victim – How to Cope with Sextortion Trauma

Experiencing sextortion is a deeply traumatic event that can shatter your sense of safety and self-worth. It’s natural to feel anxious, depressed, violated, and even suicidal. Please know that you’re not alone, and there is hope. Consider these tips for coping with the psychological effects of sextortion:

      • Reach out for support from family and friends you trust. You don’t have to suffer in silence or hide in shame.
      • Connect with other sextortion survivors through online and in-person support groups. Talking to people who have been through this can provide validation, encouragement, and hope.
      • Engage in healthy activities that relieve stress and help you feel grounded, like exercise, deep breathing, meditation, journaling, art, or time in nature.
      • Work with a trauma-informed therapist who specializes in psychosexual crimes. Counseling can help you process complex emotions, rebuild self-esteem, and learn skills to manage triggers or flashbacks.
      • Practice self-compassion and positive self-talk. Recognize that you are so much more than what happened to you. Your worth is infinite and unconditional.
      • Trust that in time, the negative feelings will lessen. Healing is not linear, but you have the resilience to get through this.
      • If you’re having thoughts of suicide or self-harm, call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency room. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 for free, confidential crisis support.

There are also many organizations that provide free support services for sextortion victims:

      • RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network): Operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline 24/7 at 1-800-656-4673. They also offer online chat support and a searchable database of local counseling centers and legal advocates.
      • Without My Consent: A non-profit that provides legal resources and practical advice for victims of online harassment and abuse. Their website features guides on evidence preservation, reporting to law enforcement and online platforms, removing unwanted intimate content, and more.
      • Cyber Civil Rights Initiative: Runs a 24/7 Crisis Helpline for victims of nonconsensual pornography (NCP) and sextortion. Call or text 844-878-2274 for support, resources, and referrals to low-cost attorneys.
      • Thorn: Works to defend children from sexual abuse. Their website provides a list of global organizations supporting young sextortion victims and resources in multiple languages.

Top 10 Sextortion Questions – Answered

Can I Remain Anonymous When Reporting Sextortion?

In most cases, yes. When filing an IC3 complaint or police report, you can request to keep your name and contact information private. However, anonymity may not be possible if the case goes to trial.

Will I Get in Trouble for Sending Nude Photos/Videos if I’m Under 18?

Generally no. Most states have laws that protect minors who are victims of sexual exploitation crimes like sextortion. The focus will be on investigating and charging the adult perpetrator. However, it’s still wise to consult an attorney about your specific case.

How Long Does a Sextortion Investigation Take?

The timeline varies depending on the case complexity, available evidence, and law enforcement resources. Some investigations may wrap up in a few weeks, while others can take several months or longer. The FBI agent assigned to your case should provide you with periodic updates.

Can I Sue My Sextortionist For Damages?

In some cases, yes. Several states have civil laws allowing victims to sue perpetrators for damages related to nonconsensual pornography and sexual cyber harassment. An experienced attorney can advise you on your legal options based on the specifics of your case.

What If the Sextortionist Is In a Different Country?

If your sextortionist is overseas, the FBI can coordinate with foreign law enforcement agencies to investigate and prosecute. However, this process can be more complex and time-consuming than domestic cases. It’s especially important to preserve strong evidence and work closely with authorities.

Will My Intimate Images Ever Be Fully Removed From the Internet?

It’s difficult to guarantee that all copies of your images will be permanently removed, as the sextortionist may have shared them on multiple sites, forums, or with other individuals. However, experienced attorneys and investigators can help you locate and remove the majority of the nonconsensual content.

Can I Get a Restraining Order Against My Sextortionist?

In many cases, yes. If you know the identity of your sextortionist and they live in your area, you can petition for a restraining order (also known as a protection order) that legally bars them from contacting you or coming near you. An attorney can help you file the necessary paperwork.

How Much Does it Cost to Hire an Attorney for Sextortion?

Legal fees vary widely based on the attorney’s experience, location, and the case scope. Some attorneys may offer sliding scale fees or pro bono (free) services for financial hardship cases. Many also provide free initial consultations. Don’t let cost deter you from seeking legal counsel.

What If I’m Not Ready to Report to Police? Can I Still Get Help?

Absolutely. Contacting law enforcement is a big step, and it’s okay if you’re not ready. You can still access victim support services, many of which are confidential and don’t require filing a formal report. Counselors and advocates can provide judgment-free emotional care and practical safety planning, no matter what you decide about reporting.

How Can I Support a Friend or Loved One Who Has Been Sextorted?

Believe them, don’t blame them, and keep their story confidential. Encourage them to stop communicating with the sextortionist and preserve evidence. Offer to help them find counseling, legal services, and report to authorities if they choose. Validate that they are not defined by this experience. Love and support them unconditionally.

You’re Not Powerless – Minc Law is Here to Help

Being a victim of sextortion can feel completely isolating and hopeless – but please hear us when we say you are not alone and you are not powerless. Reporting this crime is a brave act of reclaiming your agency and voice. The dedicated team of attorneys at Minc Law are here to be your ally.

We’ve helped countless people just like you end sextortion, remove nonconsensual content, and hold their perpetrators accountable. We know the intricacies of these cases and will leverage every legal tool to protect your rights and dignity. Our client’s well-being is our top priority, and we’ll treat your case with the utmost empathy, discretion, and tenacity.

You do not have to navigate this traumatic situation on your own.

Contact Minc Law today for a confidential, no-obligation consultation with one of our intake specialists. Together, we’ll make a plan to get you justice, safety, and peace of mind. Freedom from your sextortionist starts with one phone call.

To get started, call 216-373-7706 or submit a contact form.

Your road to justice and healing starts here.

Contact Minc Law

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