What to Do If Someone Is Blackmailing Me on WhatsApp?

Jun 14, 2024 | Crypto Scam Defense, Fraud | 0 comments

Messaging applications like WhatsApp have connected strangers from all over the world in a matter of seconds. However, this growing popularity has also made it easier to compromise users’ privacy and security, particularly through situations where personal information is used for online blackmail.

According to data from the Cyber Security Authority (CSA), the first two months of 2024 saw a 254 percent increase in online blackmail cases, leading us to ask: What should I do if someone blackmails me on WhatsApp? In this blog, we will explore how blackmailers use WhatsApp and what steps you should take if you are threatened.

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A smartphone displaying the WhatsApp welcome screen with an “Agree and Continue” button

What is WhatsApp Blackmail?

WhatsApp Blackmail is when someone uses the app to threaten the release of private information unless the victim meets specific demands. The threats can include:

  • Revealing personal details that could embarrass the victim
  • Asking for sexual favors, commonly referred to as sextortion
  • Exposing sensitive information that may result in financial loss
  • Threatening to reveal the victim’s involvement in criminal activities
  • Falsely accusing the victim of committing a crime

It’s important to note that similar blackmail tactics can also take place on other platforms, such as Snapchat blackmail, where sensitive images and messages can be exploited for extortion.

How Does WhatsApp Blackmail Work?

Blackmailers often use fake profiles with attractive photos and bios to attract potential victims. They typically start with friendly or flirtatious or romantic messages to people who are lonely or seeking new connections, before moving on to other manipulative tactics.

Tactic 1: Direct Engagement and Threats

  • Initial Contact: Blackmailers create attractive social media profiles to connect with potential victims.
  • Transition to WhatsApp: Victims are convinced to move the conversations to WhatsApp, encouraging more intimate conversations.
  • Compromising chats: Victims are tricked into joining naked video chats or sharing explicit photos/videos.
  • Recording for Blackmail: These interactions are secretly recorded, and the blackmailers use this footage to threaten and manipulate victims into following orders.

Learn more about romance scams and how to protect your heart and wallet. 

Tactic 2: Forced Interaction and Exploitation

  • Creating Unwanted Contact: When direct and friendly engagement tactics fail, blackmailers move on to unsolicited video calls.
  • Manipulative Content Creation: During these calls, they collect the victim’s image to create compromising content.
  • Sextortion: This created content is then used to extort the victim, with threats of public exposure unless their demands are met.

What to Do If Someone Is Blackmailing Me on WhatsApp?

Blackmail is a crime under federal and all state laws, which can result in prison time for over a year or heavy fines. It can cause both emotional and financial damage, which is why it is important not to stay silent. If you are being blackmailed on WhatsApp, follow these steps:

1. Save Conversations with the Blackmailer 

The first step is to retain all conversations you have had with the blackmailer. Take screenshots of the conversations, including any messages, images, or contact information they have sent you. This evidence is essential for reporting the crime and taking legal action.

2. Contact Local Authorities

Report the situation to your local police and seek advice from an online extortion lawyer. They can help you hold the aggressor criminally responsible and respond to any potential release of harmful content. Legal professionals can advise you on whether you should file a police report or take other legal actions against the blackmailer.

3. Report the Extortionist to WhatsApp and Cybercrime Agencies

Report the crime to WhatsApp by sending the threatening messages to WhatsApp Abuse or contacting their support team through the app settings. Additionally, report the incident to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and your local cybercrime agency. 

4. Consult with Professionals for Assistance

Consider contacting specialized professionals such as Low-Cost Detectives. Their investigation experts specialize in cyber blackmail cases and can address the complexities of your specific situation, offering tailored advice and support.

5. Use WhatsApp Features to Protect Yourself 

Ensure your WhatsApp account is private to limit access to your profile picture, status, and last-seen information. Use WhatsApp’s feature to silence calls from unknown numbers, helping protect you from potential blackmailers and extortion scams.

Learn all the WhatsApp security features to avoid scams in What Is WhatsApp Doing Against Scam Groups.

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Person typing on a smartphone, composing a message

How to Report WhatsApp Blackmail?

If you experience blackmail, report it within the WhatsApp app and also to other agencies such as the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) and your local law enforcement. Learn how to report with these steps:

Report Blackmail on WhatsApp App

1. Blocking and Reporting the Account on WhatsApp

  • Open WhatsApp and go to More options > Settings.
  • Access Account > Privacy > Blocked contacts.
  • Tap Add and choose the contact you want to block.

Alternatively, you can block a contact directly from a chat by tapping More options > More > Block > BLOCK or REPORT & BLOCK.

2. Reporting the Contact

  • Enter to the chat with the person you want to report.
  • Tap More options > More > Report.
  • If you wish, check the box to block the user and delete the chat messages.
  • Tap REPORT.

Another method is to long-press a specific message from the user, tap the overflow menu, and select the option to report the contact.

Report WhatsApp Blackmail to the FBI

To report the crime to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3), fill out their complaint form. The FBI website offers detailed instructions on how to file a report and answers to frequently asked questions. Reporting to the IC3 helps track scams and could lead to detecting sophisticated extortion schemes. 

Report WhatsApp Blackmail to Local Authorities

Use Google or another browser to find the nearest police station. Call or visit in person to file your report, providing as much information and evidence as possible. You may also want to consult an experienced attorney for additional guidance and support.

Hand holding a smartphone with the WhatsApp logo on the screen

Protect Your Information to Avoid WhatsApp Blackmail

Protecting your personal information is crucial to avoid becoming a victim of blackmail on any app or platform, like WhatsApp. Always be mindful of the information you share online and the people you share it with. 

If you spot any suspicious activity or someone is blackmailing you on WhatsApp, stay calm and never give in to their demands. Paying or complying encourages further extortion. Instead, gather evidence, report the crime, consult legal experts, and share your experience with the Crypto Scam Defense Network community to alert others.

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