The Tale of WePay and Revenge Porn Extortionists

Upon request, in light of WePay’s recent apparent termination of an adult actor’s efforts to fundraise for her medical bills (because porn!), here’s the story of WePay and revenge porn extortionists.

About a year ago, I was writing about Craig Brittain’s revenge porn website, IsAnybodyDown, which he had renamed “ObamaNudes.”  Brittain had devised a clever scheme: create an ‘independent’ service that would remove nude photos for a fee of $250.  The ‘service’ was called the “Takedown Hammer”, and was purportedly operated by a lawyer named David Blade III, Esq.  The problem was that “David Blade” did not exist, and emails sent from both Brittain’s revenge porn site and “David Blade” originated from the same IP address in Colorado Springs (where Brittain resided at the time).

Brittain, it should be noted, denies all of this, offering a shifting story of who “David Blade” is.  Although he’s previously proclaimed that he doesn’t know who David Blade was, Brittain recently claimed that it was actually some guy in India.  More on this later.

In the face of inaction by law enforcement in Colorado 1  — victims were hesitant to come forward — I began contacting the unwary facilitators of the scheme.  Through a friend, PayPal shut down at least one of the “David Blade” accounts.  After that, the “Takedown Hammer” began soliciting payoffs through WePay.

On April 25, 2013, I emailed WePay and received a response that WePay’s compliance team was “going to review the account in question and take appropriate actions.”  Satisfied that WePay would be quick to do the right thing, I didn’t write about the affair — better, after all, to let professionals do their work without alerting the operator(s) of the account that they should withdraw their misbegotten funds before the account was terminated.

But, after six days, the account remained public, so that’s where I went.  I tweeted at WePay to leverage public pressure for them to act:

 

To WePay’s credit, they quickly promised to “review it now” and the account disappeared almost instantaneously, and they responded publicly:    

I don’t claim to know how WePay’s servers work, or whether it’s accurate that an account can be terminated, yet remain publicly visible, or whether this account was shut down before I resorted to public shaming.  I’m skeptical — and if WePay did, in fact, sleep on this for even a few days, that’s a several days to extort victims of involuntary porn.

The lesson, however, is that WePay does respond to public criticism.  With the amount of unwelcome attention its getting now, I should hope they have someone working over the weekend to do the right thing and reverse their current err.

As for Brittain — I wonder why he knows this?

Notes:

  1. homeless man running a revenge porn site later ripped off the “Takedown Hammer” scheme, even using the same name and text.  He was later indicted for extortion in California and is currently sitting in a Tulsa jail while resisting extradition

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