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If You're A Guy And A Hot Babe On Instagram Asks You For Nudes, BEWARE: It Is Probably A Nigerian Man Who Will Ask For A Bitcoin Ransom

mihailomilovanovic. Getty Images.

Today I learned of a deeply troubling new scam called financial sextortion. Apparently, young men and teenage boys are being targeted by Nigerian and Ivory Coast scammers who create fake profiles with hot babes, friend an entire football team, ask one of the guys for a nude, and then threaten to send it to all his family and friends unless he hands over a sum of Bitcoin or a bunch of gift cards. And a lot of people are falling for it, often with tragic results: 


First, a scammer located in, say, the Ivory Coast, will create an attractive female avatar. To find targets, he may trawl a high school football team’s social media account and “friend” all the players; those who accept the friend request are sent flirtatious messages. Once the person has obtained a photo — one that shows both genitals and face, for more leverage — the scammer will use that list of people as well as the victim’s online friend list as a weapon, threatening to send the compromising picture to teammates, coaches and teachers.

The method has become so common that when a different New Jersey man was duped into sending a scammer nude photos, the man immediately raced to a drugstore to follow the scammer’s directions: load $1,000 onto as many gift cards as necessary and send the redemption codes. At the register, the store manager took one look at the gift cards and tried to stop him, the man said; the manager had seen this before.

The man, who asked not to be named, said he was too afraid to heed the advice. He sent the money anyway.

Pretty sickening. My generation knows the impossible task of distinguishing between real Nigerian princes and posers. I guess those fake princes changed tactics and are now soliciting American lads for dick pics—a far more sinister scheme. For many of the teenage boys who fall victim to this trap end up killing themselves out of fear and shame. 


According to the F.B.I., between January 2021 and July 2023, at least 20 teenagers, when faced with the threat that an embarrassing photo would ruin their lives, have killed themselves.

Fucking nightmare. Between this and having learned that hackers can hack in to your computer webcam and collect footage of you cranking dong to use for similar leverage, I'm about ready to cut my dick off entirely. Just seems like a means to financial ruin. 

The parents of victims blame the social media companies, wondering why there aren't better guardrails in place to track this sort of thing. That seems like a good place to start, but I wonder how that works in practice. For the most part, we've been wanting these companies to mind their own fucking business and give us more privacy when it comes to our data and activity on these sites. Inviting them in to monitor sexual exchanges between high schoolers feels like a bad idea. But something needs to be done. 

A friend of mine recently proposed that we simply ban social media for anyone under 18. Obviously that will never work. But it does seem like the apps have absolutely broken the brains of our youth, and maybe making them wait until they're 18 would allow them to gain some sense before they present themselves as targets for these goddamn scammers. Who knows, I'm just an old man yelling at clouds at this point. 

If this blog helps one young dude take a beat before hitting send on a genital photo to a complete stranger; if it stops one young man long enough to check the profile of this broken-English-speaking babe he's never met to see that she only has 13 followers, all of whom are random dudes his age? Then maybe that's a start.