Blackmail email scams, also known as extortion scams, are schemes used by fraudsters to extort money from individuals. Blackmail email scams are found not only in email messages but also on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and many other social platforms. How can you spot this type of scam?

The scam goes something like this…

Out of the blue, you receive a concerning email from an unknown sender. The sender will say that they have compromising images of you, compromising text messages or conversations, or say that they have evidence that you have committed a crime. The sender may say that they’re a law enforcement officer, a company representative, a private investigator, or another similar identity. This is an attempt to add credibility to the scam in hopes that their fake identity will persuade you.

The sender, aka the scammer, will say that in order to pay back the money you’ve said to have stolen, for them not to release the said photos, or whatever their reason is, you have to send them a certain amount of money. The scammer may email you multiple times with various threats to “expose” you, each time attempting to create more urgency. The scammer is hoping that you will believe their threats of blackmail to be true or that they have some sort of false evidence when in reality, it’s a scam.

How do you spot a blackmail scam?

Blackmail scams typically show up randomly, this is intentional so the scammer can create a sense of urgency. If you didn’t do what the blackmailer is claiming, then this is likely a blackmail scam. If you receive a blackmail email sent with urgency from someone claiming to be an officer or someone you’ve never interacted with, it’s likely a scam. Simply delete the email and block the sender if needed.

A blackmail scam email can be a terrifying email to receive. Remember not to click on suspicious links within the email, take a step back and analyze the message. Does it make sense? Are there spelling and grammatical errors? What exactly is the blackmail sender asking for? If it feels wrong, it likely is wrong. Trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

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