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  • Writer's pictureLeigh Nicol

Intimate image abuse ... even when the images don't exist

There's a simple phrase we sometimes use when talking to young people about social media and creating your own public profile: once something is posted, you lose control of it.

Every time we take a decision to make public content, or send it to someone, we're taking a risk. A risk that someone will take that content and abuse it. In my case, I hadn't made intimate content public, it was stolen from me by a criminal who hacked my iCloud. This month we were approached by a model who hadn't even created intimate content. The content she had lost control of was her public modelling shots.

A different kind of criminal had taken her innocent modelling shots and set up a fake Instagram profile with a promise to users that, behind a paywall, intimate images and videos would appear.

The link in the bio led to a page, using images of bare breasts (which didn't belong to Connie!) to suggest that she had some kind of Only Fans style page.

Anyone naive enough to click through to this page and seeking to interact with the account would then be taken to a site which makes them think that they already have an account. Want to cancel the account? No problem. Just give us the first 6 digits of your credit card ... and the last 4 digits too. I'm not sure exactly what happens next, because I'm not silly enough to put those details in, but I'm pretty confident that it ends with scammers emptying your bank account.

This latest scam is yet another which follows a familiar path - using sex to exploit people. Connie was exploited because of her good looks and glossy photos and the various men who may have been hoodwinked into trying to obtain intimate images of her would have been exploited for cash. From Sextortion scams to intimate image abuse there is no tactic that is too low for online criminals. It's important we stay vigilant at all times and people with public profiles should protect their content.

Fortunately we were able to have the fake Instagram account deleted for Connie and the fake Only Fans style page deleted very swiftly thereafter, We're grateful to her for allowing us to tell her story. She was keen to get the word out and try and help others to avoid being impersonated or scammed in future. The real Connie can be found here on Instagram and you will only find modelling shots and promotion of Genesis Apparel there.


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