Scammers Are Impersonating Porn Stars to Con Lonely Men Out of Money

eWhoring scams harm both victims and sex workers

ewhoring scams
eWhoring scammers often spend weeks courting their victims.
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By Kayla Kibbe / June 2, 2020 10:10 am

Thanks to some combination of quarantine boredom, financial desperation and the rising popularity of platforms like OnlyFans, online sex work has been on the rise amid the coronavirus pandemic. Unfortunately, scammers impersonating online sex workers are also taking advantage of this moment to con people out of money.

According to a recent Daily Beast report, eWhoring is on the rise amid pandemic lockdowns as loneliness, vulnerability and internet dependence are all reaching all-time highs. These scams typically involve fraudsters either posing as porn stars or simply stealing their photos and pretending to be young women on the internet in order to strike up a romantic relationship online and demand money from victims.

These scammers are often men with IP addresses tracing back to West and South Africa or Southeast Asia, the Daily Beast reported. And while these eWhoring scams seem to be increasing amid the pandemic, they’re nothing new. The FTC found such “romance scams” had increased threefold between 2015 and 2019, while cybersecurity firm Trend Micro found 26,622 posts on eWhoring between August 2018 and June 2019, and 46,651 the following year.

Such scams are typically more about romance than sex, and scammers often spend weeks courting their victims and establishing a fake emotional relationship in order to solicit cash. As adult performer Cherie DeVille told the Daily Beast, “It’s not about, ‘I’ll give you anal sex if…’ It’s always, ‘I want to be your girlfriend,’ so will you…”

Deville and various other adult performers said the number of scam accounts tied to their photos or identities have increased rapidly in recent months, a trend most attribute to the coronavirus pandemic. But most performers don’t go searching for scams in their name, only learning about them when a victim eventually finds their real account and reaches out, meaning there could be many more scams that go unreported.

While eWhoring scams are often financially and emotionally devastating to victims, they can be very harmful to the sex workers involved as well. Deville told the Daily Beast that while many victims are understanding, if hurt, after she explains they’ve been scammed, many remain convinced that she was the conman, demanding their money back and threatening violence.

“We work so fucking hard. And the world shits on us so much,” Deville told the Daily Beast. “Then you have this whole other group of people trying to shit on us some more? Come on, guys, can you give us a break? ”

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