How to Identify & Stop Telegram App Sextortion Scams Featured Image

How to Identify & Stop Telegram App Sextortion Scams

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A new “friend” struck up a conversation on Instagram but eventually asked you to move to Telegram for a more private conversation. They convinced you to send explicit photos or videos of yourself—and now they are threatening to share that content unless you do what they say. Does this scenario sound familiar? Unfortunately, Telegram sextortion scams are increasingly popular due to the platform’s robust privacy and anonymity features.

If a sextortionist on Telegram has targeted you, we recommend taking the following steps to stop the harassment:

  • Stop all contact with the Telegram user,
  • Document evidence and communications with the scammer,
  • Adjust security settings on Telegram and social media accounts,
  • Do not give in to demands for money or intimate content,
  • Report the sextortion to Telegram,
  • Report the sextortion to law enforcement and cybercrime agencies, and
  • Speak to an experienced sextortion attorney.

At Minc Law, our legal team has extensive experience helping sextortion victims fight back against online harassment. We help take over communications with the scammer on your behalf, prevent the release of damaging content, and remove media that has already been posted. In our experience, it is not only possible but likely that you will be able to recover from this experience and go on with your life soon after the threats end.

In this article, we explain how to spot the red flags of a sextortion scam on Telegram before it begins. We also detail how to respond to sextortion threats on Telegram and where to turn for professional and legal help.

How to Identify a Telegram Sextortion Scam

Telegram is a popular cloud-based messaging and calling app. Because it is free to use and has no content moderation, it is a popular breeding ground for sextortionists and romance scammers. Private messages in Telegram are also encrypted and can “self-destruct,” so sextortionists feel confident sending threatening or explicit messages.

Below, we break down a typical sextortion scam on Telegram.

The Initial Communication Began on a Social Media Platform or Dating App

Most sextortionists initiate contact with victims on social media or a dating platform like Facebook or Instagram. They often create a fake account (posing as an attractive young woman or man) and send friend requests to multiple victims at once.

If you receive a random friend request from a user with no mutual acquaintances, be cautious. Look at their profile; if they have almost no posting history, they are almost certainly a scammer.

Once you accept the scammer’s friend request, they begin chatting. Sextortionists usually start using flirtatious and sexual language almost immediately. Eventually, they suggest moving the conversation to Telegram.

Sextortionists and romance scammers prefer Telegram due to its enhanced privacy features, like end-to-end encryption and self-destructing messages. These features make it harder for authorities to trace the scam. Telegram also boasts video and voice calling, which lets scammers record their victims engaging in intimate acts without their knowledge.

Asking to move to Telegram should raise suspicion, especially if the conversation quickly becomes personal or intimate.

Language & Grammar Mistakes

In many sextortion cases, the scammer has a poor command of English. They often use unusual phrasing, spelling errors, and grammatical mistakes. Poor grammar can indicate that the scammer is operating from a non-English-speaking country, which is common in international cybercrime networks.

While not a definitive sign of a scam, this language barrier often comes with unnatural or scripted communication styles. Scammers use scripts to manage multiple victims simultaneously.

Attractive Profile & Images

Sextortionists often use profile photos and images taken from elsewhere on the internet. They may pose as a famous person or celebrity, while others choose to pose as an attractive stranger.

If you receive a friend request from an unknown but attractive profile, conduct a reverse image search to find other instances of their photo(s) online. Sextortionists and other online scammers often use stolen or photoshopped photos to create fake personas.

Overtly Sexual & Flirty Messages

One significant red flag is when a new contact uses sexual language right away. Sextortionists use this tactic to establish a sexually charged environment, making it easier to manipulate and coerce victims into sending compromising images or information.

In all the excitement, it is easy to overlook the red flags of a quickly escalating sexual conversation. Sextortionists bank on you being flattered, confused, and swept up in the experience. That way, you are more likely to play their game.

The scammer aims to lower your guard and create a false sense of intimacy or trust, which they can exploit for blackmail. Genuine and respectful relationships, in contrast, do not typically start with overt sexual advances or requests.

Requesting a Video Chat or Exchange of Images

Eventually, the sextortionist asks you to either send intimate images, record compromising video, or engage in sexual acts on a webcam. The scammer may send explicit images or videos stolen from a pornographic site to entice you into “returning the favor.” The sextortionist’s goal is to obtain embarrassing (or damaging) content.

We recommend that all victims of sextortion read ‘Can Sextortion Ruin Your Life?’ and ‘Do Sextortionists Give Up?’ to better understand that this is not the end of the world and it will pass.

Immediate Actions to Stop a Telegram Sextortion Scam

If a sextortionist is threatening you on Telegram or any other app, your first step should be to remain calm. While it is understandable to feel a sense of panic and fear, remember that these scammers prey on these feelings to manipulate you.

You have more control over the situation than you think. In all likelihood, this situation will not be as catastrophic as it appears. We recommend following these steps to end the harassment quickly and effectively.

Stop All Contact With the Telegram User

As soon as you receive threats from a sextortionist on Telegram, cease all communication with the scammer. Responding or engaging further can encourage them.

Simultaneously, start documenting all evidence of the scam, including screenshots of conversations, transaction requests, and other relevant information. This evidence is vital for any legal action or investigation that may follow.

While it is never a good idea to ignore sextortion, there is an important difference between ignoring and not responding. Not responding to a sextortionist can be effective, as any engagement can be construed as encouragement. However, while you should avoid direct communication with the scammer, it is crucial to take proactive measures to protect yourself.

It is also important to report the scammer. Ignoring a sextortionist without reporting them lets them continue their criminal activities unchecked.

Document Evidence & Communications With the Scammer

It is natural to feel embarrassed by the messages and material a sextortionist sent you. Your gut response may be to delete all messages and pretend the interaction never happened.

But deleting proof of the sextortion attempt makes it harder to hold the scammer accountable. You will need evidence to report the sextortionist to law enforcement or bring a successful legal claim against them.

Telegram allows for self-destruct messages that will disappear after a short period of time, so be sure to take screenshots of all messages as soon as possible.

It is also a good idea to preserve additional proof of the sextortion, including:

  • Screenshots of the scammer’s online profile(s),
  • URLs of their online profile(s),
  • Screenshots and URLs of any harmful posts they made about you, and
  • Receipts and screenshots of any money transfers you made to the scammer.

When documenting the sextortionist’s accounts, be sure to capture all the profiles you can find. Many sextortion scammers jump between platforms when communicating with and gathering information about you. Try to save all chats and account information you can find on every platform the scammer uses.

Finally, it is a good idea to document the scam timeline, from first contact to the latest threats. The clearer a picture you can paint of the incident, the easier it will be for your attorney and law enforcement to hold the scammer accountable.

Please see our comprehensive guide explaining ‘What to Do If You’ve Been Sextorted’ for further reading.

Adjust Security Settings on Telegram & Social Media Accounts

Next, review and enhance the security settings on your social media accounts. Change passwords, enable two-factor authentication, and adjust privacy settings to restrict who can view your profile and contact you. This step helps prevent the scammer from further accessing your personal information.

Telegram offers several settings you can adjust to maximize your security. For example, Telegram displays your phone number to your contacts by default. You can hide your phone number by:

  • Tapping the three-stripe icon in the upper left corner;
  • Selecting Settings;
  • Navigating to Privacy and Security;
  • Tapping Phone Number (in the Privacy section); and
  • Choosing Nobody.

The Privacy and Security section of your Telegram account also allows you to restrict access to your photos and videos, block users, restrict who can call you, and more.

Do Not Give in to Demands For Money or Intimate Content

It is crucial to resist complying with the scammer’s demands, whether they ask for money or more compromising content. Paying a ransom does not guarantee that the scammer will stop harassing you. In fact, they will likely come back with more demands.

If you have already paid the sextortionist, do not panic. Stop engaging with them from this point forward, and try to cancel the payment if possible. Save copies or screenshots of receipts and payment information—including contact information. This information may be helpful in bringing the scammer to justice.

Please see our video ‘Should You Pay a Sextortionist?’ for further information.

Report the Sextortion to Telegram

Sextortion and other forms of online abuse are against Telegram’s terms of service. Telegram has policies against such behaviors and can ban the scammer’s account.

You can report the sextortion attempt directly to Telegram using their in-app reporting feature by following these steps:

  • Open the Chat. Navigate to the conversation with the individual involved in the sextortion.
  • Access the User’s Profile. Click on the user’s name or profile picture at the top of the chat to open their profile.
  • Select ‘Report’. Look for a ‘Report’ option in the user’s profile. This option might be in a menu represented by three dots or a similar icon.
  • Choose a Reason. Select the appropriate reason for reporting. In this case, you might choose options like ‘Spam’ or ‘Other,’ then specify that it is for sextortion in the comments or description box.
  • Provide Details. Add as much detail as possible about the sextortion attempt. This description can include how the user approached you, the nature of the threats, and any other relevant information.
  • Submit the Report. Send the report to Telegram for review.

Report the Sextortion to Law Enforcement & Cybercrime Agencies

You may also want to report the incident to your local law enforcement. Sextortion is a crime, and authorities can provide guidance and take necessary actions to bring the perpetrator to justice. When reporting the incident, be sure to provide all documented evidence to assist in the investigation.

Aside from your local police department, you can also report sextortion to federal and international agencies such as:

  • National Center For Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC),
  • Internet Crimes Complaint Center (IC3),
  • Your local FBI Field Office, and

Speak to an Experienced Sextortion Attorney

Experienced internet attorneys can advise you on the best strategy for dealing with your sextortionist.

At Minc Law, we know how to communicate with scammers on your behalf and end harassment on all major online platforms. We can remove defamatory online content, have it de-indexed from Google search, and work with law enforcement to hold extortionists accountable for their actions.

Most importantly, an experienced sextortion attorney knows how to resolve your matter quickly and discreetly without drawing unnecessary attention to the situation.

However, watch out for unethical sextortion assistance services that aim to further exploit sextortion victims. If you are considering hiring professional assistance, avoid services that display the following red flags:

  • They reach out to you offering help,
  • They discourage you from contacting the police,
  • They play on your emotions in their sales pitch (such as your fear and panic),
  • They are not regulated or licensed by an oversight body,
  • You cannot speak with them or verify their true identity,
  • They have no physical address where you can meet them in person, and
  • They have multiple negative reviews or call-outs from previous clients in discussion forums.

To learn more about avoiding a sextortion assistance scam, we recommend reading our article: “The Key Red Flags of Sextortion Assistance Services.

Seeking Personal & Professional Help to Navigate Telegram Sextortion Scams

Being targeted by a sextortionist is an isolating and scary experience, and it is important to remember that you do not have to face this situation alone. You are the victim and have done nothing wrong—and you deserve support in navigating the aftermath of sextortion.

In this section, we suggest mental health, legal, and professional resources for sextortion victims.

Emotional Support Resources & Organizations

The stress and emotional turmoil sextortion scam can cause immediate and long-term consequences for your mental health. We recommend seeking help from trusted friends and family as soon as the attack takes place.

You can also call a mental health hotline or a sextortion-specific hotline (such as Thorn). We also recommend looking for local organizations and online forums offering support to victims of internet abuse or cybercrimes. Please do not attempt to navigate this difficult experience on your own.

Many sextortion victims experience anxiety, depression, and even thoughts of self-harm. Please remember that nothing is ever worth hurting yourself. Please call the Suicide Prevention Helpline at 988 for judgment-free support at any time of the day or night.

Also, sextortion victims may want to consider long-term mental health support. A psychiatrist or psychologist can help you work through long-term symptoms like anxiety and depression.

Professional Support & Services

You can also turn to legal and professional services dedicated to supporting victims of sextortion and related cybercrimes. We recommend reaching out to the following organizations for help ending the harassment, protecting your digital footprint, and restoring your sense of safety:

Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)

The Internet Crime Complaint Center is an organization formed by a partnership between the National White Collar Crime Center and the FBI. Sextortion victims in the U.S. can file a complaint to help compile a case against the scammer.

Legal Aid Services

Many regions have legal aid services offering free or low-cost legal advice. If you cannot afford an attorney, these services can guide you on how to proceed with your case.

Digital Risk Monitoring Services

Following a sextortion attack, it is a good idea to monitor your holistic online footprint across various websites and devices. You can use free tools like Google Alerts to keep an eye on chosen keywords (like your name). Paid services like Minc Law’s Digital Risk Protection service go a step further by using a mix of strategies to identify and remove digital threats in real time.

Online Reputation Management Strategies & Services

Online reputation management (ORM) uses a combination of public relations, digital marketing, and search engine optimization tools to build and protect your image. ORM can help protect against harmful content the sextortionist may eventually post about you. This strategy helps suppress negative content from search results and prioritize your curated brand content instead.

National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC)

This organization is a nonprofit group dedicated to supporting minor victims and educating their families about child victimization. Underage victims of sextortion can call the NCMEC for judgment-free support at 1-800-THE-LOST (1-800-843-5678).

Sextortion Attorneys

If possible, we recommend hiring an attorney specializing in sextortion cyber law. An experienced sextortion attorney can help take over communications with the sextortionist on your behalf, work with law enforcement to end the harassment, and remove intimate content from the internet (should it be posted).


“I was recently a victim of a predator trying to extort me. I was lost and had not idea what to do till I found Minc Law. Dorian and Anna were amazing, patient and completely understanding of my situation. I followed their expert advice and the problem went away and I fell like a weight has been lifted off my shoulder. I cannot thank Minc Law enough for protecting my reputation. I would recommend Minc Law to anyone in a similar situation. They are simply the best. Thanks you for everything.”


March 10, 2023

You can also reach out to us at Minc Law by calling (216) 373-7706 or filling out our online contact form. If you are a good fit for our sextortion services, we offer paid emergency sextortion consultations with an attorney starting at $500.

Are you being defamed online? Contact Minc Law today!

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