Persuasive Elements in (S)extortion Correspondence Demanding Cryptocurrency
Dove, Martina, Persuasive Elements in (S)Extortion Correspondence Demanding Cryptocurrency (April 28, 2019). 9th Annual Counter Fraud and Forensic Accounting Conference, University of Portsmouth, UK. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3616205
8 Pages Posted: 26 Jun 2020
Date Written: April 28, 2019
Extortion and sextortion emails requesting cryptocurrency are on the rise. For many individuals, receiving threatening correspondence such as sextortion emails can be extremely traumatic and lead to feelings of helplessness and eventual compliance. An analysis of 60 examples of (s)extortion type emails, found common elements frequently used in such correspondence, such as delivering threats, imposing time limits or using victim’s own data as proof that the correspondence may be genuine.
Further thematic analysis of the written text unearthed several themes and subthemes that point to a complex psychological structure, designed to persuade, shame and coerce a potential victim to comply with the blackmail, as well as break down any defence strategy that may come to one’s mind upon receiving such correspondence. The themes and subthemes found in such correspondence, clearly outline how much psychological distress sextortion emails may cause potential victims and why assertive fraud prevention messages, that specifically address this type of fraud are needed.
Keywords: extortion, sextortion, fraud, scam, scammer, cryptocurrency, bitcoin, persuasion, scammer
JEL Classification: K14, K42, K49
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation