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Think Before You Click: Protecting Yourself as an Image-Bearer – Clues to Spot a Sexual Scam

Think Before You Click: Protecting Yourself as an Image-Bearer – Clues to Spot a Sexual Scam

Girl clicking on cell phoneSextortion … revenge porn … catfishing … Did you know that college students are at a very high risk for all of these? (Yes, even Cedarville students!) And not just women are at risk – college-age men are increasingly finding themselves victims of sexual scams. 

Understanding the Terms

  • Online sextortion is extortion involving someone obtaining your pictures (nudes) or videos of a sexual or intimate nature and then using them to blackmail you to either: 1.) Send them increasingly compromising or degrading images or 2.) Send them money. They threaten to expose your images to family, your friends, your college. Men are often victims of sextortion. 
  • Revenge Porn involves the sharing of intimate pictures or videos without your permission. It tends to occur after a romantic relationship has ended and the perpetrator is seeking to control or punish the victim. Most victims of revenge porn are women. 
  • Catfishing is used in dating apps or anonymous Instagram accounts, when someone is fishing for a victim with too-good-to-be-true fake profiles as the bait. The Fisher is looking to create a sense of connection and relationship with the victim to get your money or get your images and videos (see sextortion above).

Think Before You Click Send

Remind yourself that your sexual dignity matters. Ask: What do I hope to experience or gain if I send this picture or video of myself?  

  • Do I believe it will help me to feel powerful or beautiful? 
  • Do I believe it will help me to feel loved or desired? 
  • Do I feel pressured to do this to hold onto a relationship? (If so, that person isn’t worthy of you!) 

Clues that a situation could be a sexual scam: 

  • They ask for your personal information.
  • The situation (or this person) seems too good to be true.
  • They are tapping into your emotions and seeking to meet your needs.
  • They give vague responses about themselves and background.
  • They tell inconsistent or grandiose stories.
  • They claim to be from the United States but are currently living, working, or traveling abroad.
  • They ask for risqué pictures or nudes.

Assume that anything and everything you share electronically will become public! 

If you do become the victim of revenge porn or a sexual scam, resist the urge to engage with the blackmailer, save all communications, and take it to your local law enforcement office and the FBI (1-800-CALL-FBI). 

by Shannon Berkheiser
Title IX Coordinator
Cedarville University

Cedarville University's Title IX office seeks to create a safe place for all students on campus.

Posted in Title IX

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