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Staying Safe With BuddyBate - BuddyBate

Staying Safe With BuddyBate

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In the last few years there has been a significant increase in the number of instances of sextortion.

We would like to offer the following tips for your safety.

First of all, we need to understand the risk…

What is “sextortion”?

Sextortion is a form of blackmail in which someone fishes for personally identifying information from a victim in order to then use this information for blackmail purposes, or to humiliate and abuse that person publicly.

They usually seek to entice you into providing visual media which they can then threaten to release or send to employers, family members or partners. They’ll collect photos you send them and analyze the background for information, they’ll take note of prominent tattoos you might have to compare them to other public photos you’ve published in order to confirm your identity, they’ll record their screen while you’re on camera with them to be able to threaten to release it, they’ll save communications you’ve had and threaten to send them to a spouse.

The perpetrator usually seeks out individuals who would wish to keep their involvement in a community such as ours private, due to their marital status, their profession or their public image (for example, politicians, YouTube personalities, actors, musicians or sportsmen etc)

However, anyone can be a victim of this kind of crime. Even if you think you wouldn’t care if someone threatened you with such public release of information, you should still take steps to prevent these individuals from gaining such control to be able to threaten you.

What information do they look for?

Email addresses are often the easiest way to find identifying data about an individual.

The widespread use of social media has made this far easier in recent times. People forget what kind of information they have published over a long period of time, but criminals will scroll back through years of your posts looking for any little clue about who you are and where you are. For example, you might have shared a link to another social media account five years ago, never thinking you would add any personal information to it. But times change. The format of that second site might change. That link could now deliver far more to someone digging for personal info and you might have no idea that you shared it.

Using these pieces of information it is often possible to gather a lot of data about a person. Criminals go to great lengths to collate data and confirm information about an individual to then use to target them for criminal exploitation.

How to stay safe when making contact

Email addresses:

We do not publish email addresses at BuddyBate because we understand the risk this poses to our community members. Aside from the realities of sexploitation and the ease with which data can be gathered using an email address, we also cannot confirm that it belongs to the publisher. Someone could be publishing someone else’s email address with the intent to harass them. There are also bots crawling the internet looking for email addresses to add to spam lists which they then sell to criminals.

We do allow the publication of social media links so that other readers can message you on those platforms.

We understand that some of you might wish to share an email address with a new contact once they have reached you via a social media account such as Twitter or Sharesome.

In this instance you should create a new email account from scratch exclusively for this purpose, do not use it for any other purpose. Create something entirely unique and do not use a previously used social media handle in this email address, as it can be traced back to the same account (depending on how unique it is). Bear in mind that while you might think an email address with “houstondude1989” is random enough, it’s far less random when it can be searched and linked to a Twitter account of the same name where you posted identifying information, or when you used it for another adult site that was hacked and the data publicly released, or when it can be traced to a profile where you left 50 comments gradually offering more information about yourself.

Social Media:

We recommend creating a new social media account for making contact with other members of this community, and that you use caution when publishing anything there. Remember that these accounts are public, and the content you share doesn’t just go away on its own after a certain time. Your personal post might still be here in 5 years, so don’t evolve that linked social media account into a personal one where more detailed information is being shared.

Do not use a handle you have used anywhere else, as this can be Googled and it allows a criminal to gather and collate data from multiple sources.

Anyone can create a free and anonymous account at Twitter, Sharesome, Reblogme or Reddit. Create something new, add limited content specifically for this purpose. You can use your new anonymous free email account to create your social media account.

Create an information “bubble” – new email, new social media account, no personal information.

Pseudonyms:

It’s entirely reasonable, given the risks, for you to create an entirely new name for yourself. No one you are connecting with here needs to know your real name. They do not need to know where you live, they don’t need to know your phone number.

You are entirely entitled to create a fictitious persona and you should assume that those you are communicating with have done so, too.

While BuddyBate promotes the forming of healthy adult friendships between like-minded men, that kind of friendship is built over time, it comes with mutual trust. There is no reason for you to be trusting anyone from the first moment you communicate and you have every reason to be cautious.

Warning signs

How do you know if the person you are communicating with online has nefarious intent?

Consider these factors:

How much do you know about them? Don’t assume that what they have told you is true. Any images or videos they have sent you could have been stolen from elsewhere. That face pic might not be them, and it might not even be a real person. Some of these criminals even stream the videos of someone else to give the impression that they are “live” with you. You might think you’re communicating with 45 year old Houston local Greg, when really you’re communicating with 56 year old Anastasia living in a Soviet era housing block just outside of Moscow.

Are they asking for personal information? One of the biggest red flags is someone asking you to “verify” who you are. No one needs to do this and if anyone asks you for personal information or a face pic refuse and end all contact (more information about this below). You might think that sending a face pic is okay, because you’ve used a fictitious name, but have you used that pic anywhere else before? Can they do a simple reverse image search and find it on your Instagram? How do you know that they haven’t already gathered enough data to add that photo to your real name and confirm other information?

Does their language match their professed location? While these criminals operate all around the world most instances seem to originate from India, Pakistan and Russia. Pay attention to the language they use and if you’re suspicious consider ending contact.

Are they familiar with local landmarks? If you’re communicating with someone who claims to be in your area, are they able to name local landmarks such as bars, clubs or cinemas? While anyone could Google these and name a few places, consider how long it takes them to answer, and their level of awareness. While someone in India could Google it and tell you they go to a certain bar in town, are they able to tell you anything unique about its interior? Try to have conversations about local events and sites and see how informed they are.

Do they keep delaying meeting up? If you’re looking for guys to meet with and this person keeps delaying or making excuses, while continuing contact and asking for more information, you should consider ending contact and moving on. Obviously someone who is only interested in blackmailing you has no intention of meeting up, so if you’re several weeks into your communication and they’ve bailed on meeting five times, you really should consider this to be a scam – or just a flake – and seek out new contacts.

The “verification” scam

One of the biggest concerns for a community like ours is age verification. Of course, everyone here wants to ensure that they are only in communication with someone who is 18+.

Criminals can exploit this sense of responsibility by demanding “verification” from those they are communicating with. Quite often they will offer to “exchange ID” in an effort to exploit your ethical nature. You do not know that the ID they have shared with you is actually real, and if it is real you don’t know that it’s theirs.

Age verification is a real issue, but you should also understand that under law a person’s professed age is enough. If someone tells you that they are 18+ you are being reasonable to believe them, unless there are other clues which might cause you concern.

You have rights, you are protected against entrapment, blackmail and sexploitation. You are not a criminal for communicating with someone who states that they are legally an adult. You are only a criminal if you communicate in such a way with someone who has informed you – or that you have reasonable suspicion to believe – is not of legal age.

For example, let’s imagine that you have been in communication with someone who has told you that they are 18+ (they could have told you they are 50, it would make no difference), but after exchanging explicit content they say they are 17 and threaten to report you unless you pay them. You are NOT the criminal in this instance, they are. They probably aren’t 17, they are lying to scare you into giving them money. This is sexploitation. You should immediately contact the authorities and give them access to all of your communications with this person. Do not contact the perpetrator again.

If someone is asking to see your ID, refuse and end contact with them, even if they are offering to show you their ID.

Meeting in person

While some men here are only seeking fleeting contact, most are seeking friendships they can enjoy with others over many years. We promote an ethos of healthy male friendships where a new level of masculine intimacy can be shared and enjoyed.

It is always preferable to meet in person and develop those friendships, so consider whether you really need to be sharing anything with anyone before meeting at a local venue for a beer.

It’s so easy for anyone to invent a fictitious persona online, we have seen it in the political arena for the last 10 years. Just as these fake political accounts in Russia cannot vote in the USA, the person behind fake adult accounts seeking your information can’t meet up with you at your local pub or club.

While meeting someone doesn’t remove the risk entirely (there possibly could be someone local to you seeking to exploit and blackmail) it greatly reduces the chances of being a victim of such.

Don’t exchange unnecessary information with men you are planning to meet. You really only need to know a name (real or not), a location and time. The rest can come later at a pace you’re comfortable with and once a level of trust has been established.

In conclusion

  • Create an anonymous and new email address for potential contacts, one you haven’t used before for anything else.
  • Create an anonymous and new social media account for DMs etc.
  • Never share any real personal information, at least until a physical friendship is established.
  • Never give any online contact your ID, even if they offer to send you theirs.
  • Never give anyone your phone number or physical address, at least not before meeting and getting to know each other.
  • It’s always better to meet a local contact in person, building trust over several meetings.

I hope this detailed page gives you enough information to help you to stay safe online. Of course, this advice is not limited to your interactions with other community members at BuddyBate, it can be applied to all your adult interactions online.

If you think anything has been overlooked here please leave a comment below and we’ll add it at a later date.

Brad

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Andy
Andy
6 months ago

Hi Brad, if I’ve made a personal or posted a comment on this website and changed my mind and want to delete it, how would I go about that?

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