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Revenge porn is not something the average person thinks about on a daily basis. But the reality is, with our increased reliance on smart phones and cloud-based storage systems, revenge porn is on the rise. A recent study by the American Psychological Association involving 3,044 adults found that 1 in 12 people had been victims of nonconsensual pornography. Because of the distressing and taboo nature of this topic and overall lack of larger research studies, we have reason to believe that these numbers are much higher.

Fighting for your privacy:

Sextortion: Revenge Porn Blackmail

Sextortion occurs when a person (sextortionist) exploits another person by threatening to publish their intimate photos in exchange for something: typically money, more nude images or sexual acts. Simply put, sextortion is blackmail related to intimate content. Sextortion is a type of revenge porn.

Regardless of the circumstances, sextortion is a serious crime that can devastate your life and your future. Once revenge porn is published, it can spread rapidly and find a permanent home on the internet, causing insurmountable damage to a victim’s reputation by taking over their search results.

 

GENERALLY, SEXTORTION TAKES TWO FORMS:

WEBCAM SEXTORTION

Webcam sextortion occurs when a person’s webcam is hacked and they are recorded in compromising positions without their knowledge or consent. The sextortionist then requests money and threatens to release the recording if the victim does not supply payment easily. This form of webcam blackmail has increased exponentially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

INTIMATE PARTNER SEXTORTION

Sextortion can also occur as a means of control by a former or current partner, whereby a partner threatens to release nude photographs of the victim to the internet if the victim doesn’t carry out acts dictated by the threatening party.

Important to Consider:

What should I do if I am a victim of revenge porn?

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Act Quickly

Revenge porn and other salacious online content has a tendency to spread quickly. Waiting too long to tackle content can and likely will result in a bigger problem.  Additionally, websites and Internet Service Providers typically only retain user data and IP addresses for limited periods of time. If you wait too long to act, you will likely lose the opportunity to identify your attacker.

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DO NOT FALL PREY TO YOUR ATTACKER’S DEMANDS

If you are a victim of sextortion, it is essential that you act immediately and do not capitulate to a sextortionist’s demands. Sending money to a sextortionist is unlikely to stop the threats and will likely result in more stalking and harassment. Fortunately, an attorney can help victims stop attackers and seek recourse.

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TAKE STEPS TO PRESERVE COMMUNICATIONS

While it may be tempting to delete aggressive communications and threats from a sextortionist, it is important that you take immediate action to screenshot and preserve all threats so that an attorney can assist you in tracking down your attacker and the content.

Steven Marrer Cleveland Attorney

Steven A. Marrer

Partner

Matt Viola Cleveland Real Estate Attorney

Matthew T. Viola

Partner

Important to Know:

Revenge Porn Frequently Asked Questions

Is revenge porn a crime?

There are civil and criminal causes of action for revenge porn depending on your state. A revenge porn attorney can help you navigate the laws in your state and assist in quickly removing content. Click here to read a helpful 50-state guide to revenge porn laws.

I was underage in my photos. Are there any resources that can help me?

We work with investigating agencies like the FBI and NCMEC to assist victims in identifying their attackers and removing abusive content from the internet. If you were underage in a photo or video, even if you took the photo or video of yourself, you have additional options and resources for content removal.

I emailed a website to remove my photos, but they didn't respond. How can you get a different result?

Websites administrators and hosting providers can be difficult to deal with and may have multiple contact points that are not readily publicized. KJK’s investigative researchers have been successful in finding alternative contact points to reach out to websites and request removal of content. Additionally, KJK may have other tools, like legal notices, that can assist in obtaining removal.

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