DEAR DEIDRE: An escort site is blackmailing me into threatening to tell my wife and my boss that I paid for sex unless I give them a lot of money.
But all I did was look at the site out of curiosity. Now my mistake threatens to ruin my marriage and my life.
I am 44 years old and married to a lovely 42 year old woman. We have two children.
A few months ago, I was on a business trip. Alone and bored in my hotel room, I went online.
When I came across a site offering escort services, I was curious.
I’ve never paid for sex or companionship in my life, but I clicked.
To see the “proposed” girls, you had to enter your name and contact details. I assumed that I could delete my account right after.
However, as soon as I entered my details and looked at some photos, I received a message claiming to be from one of the girls.
I ignored it, unsubscribed and thought no more about it.
Two weeks later, out of the blue, I received a message from someone saying that I had “fooled around with one of his daughters.”
I pleaded innocence.
He told me if I paid him £150 it would be forgotten.
But if I didn’t pay, he would contact my wife and my business, and post lies about me all over social media.
Panicked, I transferred the money.
Now, two weeks later, I received the same message from a different number. This time they want £200.
If my wife finds out, she’ll divorce me, I’ll lose my kids, and my boss will fire me.
Each issue receives a personal response, usually within 24 hours on weekdays.
I can neither eat nor sleep. My wife keeps asking what’s wrong.
DEIDRE SAYS: I realize how scary this must be, but please don’t pay a penny more.
If you do, these criminals – most likely an organized gang – will keep coming back for more and more, and it will never end.
You should report this site to the police. You are being blackmailed and harassed, two crimes.
Reporting the site can help prevent these people from targeting someone else.
You can also call the Victim Support Line (victimsupportline.org.uk, 0808 16 89 111) for help and advice.
Keep track of all correspondence with blackmailers.
Talk to your partner. It won’t be an easy conversation, but I assure you that you’ll feel better if you talk openly.
You have not actively cheated. You made a stupid mistake.
If something is posted online, you can contact Google or social media sites and request that it be removed.