How to Report Email Blackmail the Easy Way

Now and again, you might receive a chilling spam email that will say something to the effect of: “I’ve hacked your device and filmed you while you were watching pornography. If you don’t want me to leak the footage, pay me $507 in this virtual cryptocurrency.” 

You might immediately feel panicky, especially if you’ve recently indulged in whatever activity the email refers to. But don’t fret over it too much, because extortion emails have become one of the most prevalent email scam schemes. 

These types of messages are known as “webcam blackmail” or “sextortion scam.” Most of them end up in people’s spam folders automatically, but every once in a while, a few ones will find their way to an inbox. Unfortunately, a smaller proportion of these scam messages will be successful in convincing the victim to wire funds. 

How to Check the Legitimacy of a Blackmail Email?

It’s likely that you weren’t the first or only person contacted by the same extortionist. Try to google the content of the email and see if other people have received a similar message. Knowing that the email is fraudulent and false should give you peace of mind.

Most scammers often resort to email spoofinga technique that makes it look as if that email was sent from your own email address. Don’t fall for it—it’s a tactic that fraudsters commonly use to make the threat appear more real.

Many blackmail emails come with an embedded and invisible single-pixel image that allows for email tracking. As soon as you open the email, the pixel catches an image hosted on a remote server, which serves to let the scammers know they’ve hit a functioning email address. 

How to Report Extortion Emails 

Extortion emails are on a significant rise, according to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) report. In 2018, these complaints grew 242% compared to the previous year, amounting to 51,146 reported crimes that rounded up the losses to $83 million. The real number is probably even higher, considering that many of these cases go unreported.

If you receive an extortion email, you shouldn’t respond to it, and even more importantly, you shouldn’t buckle under the fear and pay the requested sum. What you ought to do is change your email password immediately, as the scammers may have hacked your email account. 

If you would like to report the blackmail email, you can do that on the Federal Trade Commission’s website (FTC). Here is how:

  1. Open the FTC’s Complaints page 
  2. Choose Internet services, online shopping, or computers category from the menu on the left
  3. Select Something else
  4. Describe your case as prompted by the FTC’s instructions

You should report the case to the FBI if you have fallen prey to the scam and lost money due to it. Find out more about how to report email abuse here.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Blackmail Email Reporting

Scammers play on their victims’ deepest fears and vulnerabilities. Keep in mind that they want you to feel afraid and humiliated because it’s the only way their scheme will work. The fraudsters have one agenda in mind—to extort money from innocent people—and they’re trying to do that by invoking a strong sense of shame in their targets and scaring them with blatant threats. 

If you’ve received a blackmail email and worry that it might be real, don’t panic. Instead, read this succinct overview of things that you should and shouldn’t do. Managing an extortion email is much easier if you understand what you’re dealing with.

Do’s 

Don’ts

  • Maintain a solid dose of skepticism
  • Interact with the email sender
  • Disregard the message
  • Click on any links in the email
  • Report it to the relevant authorities (the FTC, or, if you’ve been scammed, the FBI)
  • Wire any funds to the sender
  • Change your email password immediately
  • Reveal your personal information
  • Be aware of spoofing, a method used to make it look like your account has been hacked 
  • Open any attachments within the email

Email Blackmail is a Form of Harassment

Email blackmail is illegal and recognized as a form of cyber harassment. If you need help with taking action against your blackmailer, DoNotPay can step in.

Follow these steps:

  1. Open DoNotPay in your web browser or on your iOS device
  2. Choose the Relationship Protection icon to start talking to our chatbot
  3. Select Explore Relationship Services
  4. Go to Safety and Stalking, then hit Let’s Do It
  5. Select Cyberbullying from the provided options
  6. Answer the chatbot’s questions 

When we have all the required information, we will contact the sender’s email service provider. On your behalf, we will: 

  1. Report the blackmailer for online harassment so that their account gets investigated
  2. Ask the email service provider to take away that person’s ability to contact you again

No More Spam Email With DoNotPay 

Knowing how to report spam and unsubscribe from emails is a prerequisite for a clean, easy-to-navigate inbox, and it will also increase your productivity. Speaking of productivity, why not streamline the process of unsubscribing from spam email with DoNotPay?

This is how the process works:

  1. Open DoNotPay in any web browser or your iOS device 
  2. Select the Spam Collector option
  3. Type in your email address to link it to our app
  4. Wait until you receive your next spam email, then forward it to spam@donotpay.com 

DoNotPay will unsubscribe you from that mailing list instantly. If there’s a current class action against the sender, you will be included in it and may be eligible to receive up to $500 in damages. Think of it as spam email revenge in which the spammers have to compensate you for the caused trouble! 

A class action settlement can be brought only if the spam email was unlawful. For example, an email is illicit if you didn’t agree to receive it, or there was no unsubscribe option provided. 

If we’ve added you to a class action settlement, a flag icon will show up in the Spam Collector tab on your DoNotPay homepage.

Clear Your Mailbox From All Physical Junk Mail 

Perhaps you’ve put all your energy into figuring out how to stop spam emails that you didn’t even notice all the junk mail piling up in your private postal box. To most people, physical mail feels like it should belong in a distant past. Somehow, random flyers, letters, and newsletters continue to crowd your mailbox—and much of it is of little or no value to you whatsoever. 

Why not do your bit to save the planet and cancel all of this unwanted mail? Don’t worry—you no longer have to contact the companies behind these pieces of mail individually—simply send us a snapshot of the junk mail you received, and we’ll do it for you.

Follow these simple instructions:

  1. Go to the DoNotMail option on the DoNotPay homepage
  2. Hit the Enroll Now button
  3. Upload your photos

Not only will DoNotPay ask the sender to stop forwarding you their worthless mail, but it will also find out whether there is a class action lawsuit against that company. If you want, it will add your name to the list of damaged parties. You might win up to $500 in compensation if the court rules against the sender! 

A Skillful Legal Assistant That Fast-Tracks Problem-Solving 

When you find yourself overwhelmed by the sheer amount of various issues and day-to-day chores, allow our app to shoulder some of that burden for you. We have developed DoNotPay on the grounds of cutting-edge automation and artificial intelligence that manage otherwise tedious manual processes. 

To give you an idea, you can now have a robot pocket lawyer that helps you manage your student loan bills, block spam emails on your Android phone, cancel your paid memberships for you, and much more.

Access DoNotPay from any web browser or your iOS device so that we can assist you with: