Dating & Romance Scams

How to check if a porn (adult) site is legit or a scam?

We are receiving an increasing amount of emails and support requests around adult content and victims being scammed. Enough to write a separate article about it.

How big is the porn industry?

In short, huge!

A few statistics about the adult industry according to Grabstats:

  • The No. 1 search term used at search engine sites is the word? Sex!
  • $ 10 – 14 billion is spent annually on pornography
  • 38% of adults say porn is morally
  • 25% of all search results are adult related
  • Every second, 28,258 people view porn.

Moral of the story. We may not like to talk about it, but many people search for adult entertainment, be it in the form of porn videos, adult dating or (online) prostitution. But how do you know which sex site to trust and which porn website may be a fraud?

What kind of porn scams are there?

There are several ways in which scammers are misusing the adult industry. This industry is especially interesting for scammers as they know that many of their victims will not seek help, let alone contact the police out of shame. We get reports on four kinds of adult scams.

Sex site Subscription Scams

The most complaints we receive about porn sites is the misuse of credit cards. People (both men and women) report so-called “subscription helpdesk sites” to us which have charged their credit card illegally. These sites use weird names like  ETPVER.com, UPS873.com, and csmembers.com. 

These websites charge credit card for other sites, which may either be owned by their own company or by other enterprises, usually in the adult content, gambling, or dating industries. The reason a different domain name is used is that consumers may not want to see on their credit card transaction slip.

However, several of these "helpdesk" sites are nothing more than scams who have gotten their hands on your credit card and prefer to just stop charging you instead of being cut off by the credit card company. In this way, they can continue their malpractice for a longer time. 

What to do?

Simple; call your credit card company and ask for a chargeback. You can clearly state you have never done a transaction with this website and therefore the charge is illegal.

Fake adult dating sites

We wrote a separate article about adult dating sites. In short, many of these sites claim that you can find a likeminded person interested in sex. However, in many cases the profiles are fake or the persons behind the profiles tease you to pay extra (usually you have to pay for every message you send). The promise of having actual sex is rarely made true.

What to do?

Our adult dating article gives several tips on how to identify this kind of sex dating scams. Unless you are into the “entertainment” part, we simple recommend cancelling your subscription (do keep a copy of the confirmation email or make a screenshot as proof). Also, make sure to ask for complete removal of all your account data to prevent sextortion scams which we will discuss next. 

Fake sextortion scams

A sextortion or porn scam is where a scammer threatens to expose your adult activities to friends and family unless you pay.

The most common way to be contacted is via email (which is sent in bulk to tens of thousands of people daily). The scammer claims he has hacked your computer, network, or just filmed you while you were visiting a porn site. Usually, they state sending the photos and videos to your relatives or just post them online unless you make a payment via bitcoin or another untraceable cryptocurrency.

Source: nakedsecurity.sophos.com

Scammers may include your name, email address, phone number, credit card, or even passwords in the email as “proof”. Increasingly WhatsApp, Twitter, and other social media are misused to send you the same kind of message.

However, in 99,999% of the cases, the emails are fake. There is no recording. The scammers just send thousands of messages a day to see if somebody bites…

What to do?

The best thing to do is to just delete the message and move on. If you reply, you only are giving the scammer a reason to keep harassing you. If a credit card number or password was sent along as “proof”, make sure to change your password and report the incident to your credit card company.

Real sextortion scams

Unfortunately, there are also cyber criminals who do have real blackmail material. You may have been chatting with a person who then uses the conversation as blackmail. There have also been several incidents where prostitution sites have been hacked and the contact details have been sold. In some cases, victims even though they were contacted by the police to pay a fine as they had been using a site to search a prostitute.

What to do?

First, do not reply. Even if they do have to confront material, it is of no use to start a discussion. They want money and will keep pressuring you to pay. If you do not reply, there is a big chance nothing will happen. Also, never, ever send money! The scammer will just keep asking for more money. They are criminals after all… if you pay, it only means to them you can pay more.

If the extorter is sending confronting material, we recommend contacting the police. They can find and prosecute the scammer. We realize this may be a confronting step, but it is better to be confronted with the unpleasant consequences of one's actions than be in the hands of criminals.

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