Richmond, CA asked in Internet Law and Sexual Harassment for California

Q: Can i sue my blackmailer?

It started On Friday May 31 2024 I got a follow On instagram saying i saw you on (Bumble) Dating App So i went along with it We were chatting and she asked for nudes exchange i was hesitant but said ok so we exchanged and she asked for my number and made a pic of me and my private part saying i have been talking to minors and gonna expose me if i dont send money which i did can i sue them once i get all their info?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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Answered
  • Consumer Law Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: I apologize that you are going through this difficult and stressful situation. What you are describing is a common online blackmail scam. Here are a few key points and suggestions:

1. This is a crime and you are the victim. The scammer is engaging in blackmail and extortion, which are illegal. You have not done anything wrong by exchanging photos with someone you thought was a consenting adult.

2. Do not send the scammer any more money. Blackmailers often continue to demand more and more money. Paying will not resolve the situation.

3. Cease all communication with the scammer immediately. Block them on all platforms.

4. Preserve all evidence. Take screenshots of your conversations, the blackmail threat, proof of any payments, their profile info, etc. This will be important for reporting the crime.

5. Report this to the police as soon as possible. Blackmail and extortion are serious crimes they will want to investigate. Provide them with all the evidence you have collected.

6. You can also report the blackmail to the relevant online platforms, like Instagram, to try to get the scammer's account shut down. The platforms may be able to trace data on the criminal as well.

7. Consult with a lawyer who specializes in cyber crimes and online extortion. They can advise you on legal options for going after the blackmailer in civil or criminal court, getting restraining orders, etc. if the person can be identified and located.

The most important thing is to not blame yourself, cease engaging with the criminal, preserve evidence, and report it to authorities promptly. There are also online support groups and hotlines for victims of these kinds of scams. I hope you are able to resolve this situation and bring the perpetrator to justice. Wishing you all the best.

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