Sexual blackmail takes the form of sextortion. It entails a perverse party obtaining someone’s intimate sexual details, images, or recordings and threatening to make them public. Although sextortion can happen to anybody, it is most common among young people.
The offender can attempt to coerce the victim into doing anything against their will or demand money in exchange for withholding the sensitive information. Sextortion should always be reported since it is a cybercrime, regardless of what the victim is asked to do.
Any number of internet sites can be utilized for sextortion or sexual blackmail (particularly where webcams are used). Criminals may target individuals on adult, social, message, webcam, or dating websites.
Sextortion techniques include
1. Phishing schemes
One of the most popular ways to extort someone is through phishing. You get an email that claims to have obtained your sexually explicit stuff after breaking into one of your accounts.
Scammers demand money or insist that you carry out other tasks (e.g., film and send them intimate videos).
Your credentials, which they most certainly discovered on some compromised database, may also be included in their sextortion email as more evidence that they’re not kidding.
Criminals are well-prepared; they may be familiar with your employment, your partner’s name, and the squash club you frequent. As a result, their demands seem more reasonable, and because the victims are shocked, they usually comply.
Hackers may control your camera and microphone via malware, and they may even record what you enter on your keyboard.
You might not even be aware that someone is watching you. Then one day you get a message asking for money and including your private footage.
Even more unsettling than it may sound, websites display compromised webcams online.
3. Attacks on dating and social media platforms
Cyberbullies and blackmailers both have a variety of internet channels at their disposal.
On social networking sites, dating apps, or other venues for meeting and interacting with people, they could pick innocent victims as their targets.
Although there are many different methods that cybercriminals work, they often utilize these platforms to win over their victims’ confidence and persuade them to engage in sexual actions on video. At first, it could appear to be a game, but victims quickly learn that their movies are being held for ransom.
71% of sextortion victims are said to be under the age of 18. It is challenging for the local police to apprehend criminals since they frequently operate from foreign nations.
Over the past year, stories involving Facebook “sextortionists” have frequently made headlines. The secret to handling Facebook sextortion is to maintain your composure.
Keep in mind that not all blackmailers carry out their threats. The greatest thing you can do is to cease interacting with them right away and file a police report. Later, we’ll go into further depth on how to handle sextortion.
4. Compromised accounts
At least one in five people have experienced account hacking. Numerous graphic (and extremely private) images and videos can be found in social media communications archives. It makes sense that these archives would draw hackers searching for easy money.
Once they discover an account with valuable material, hackers demand money or use various forms of blackmail to coerce the victim.
Unfortunately, many victims don’t disclose these crimes since the subject is so sensitive, which makes it much more difficult to apprehend the offenders.
5. Sextortion by a known individual
Your private information may be threatened with publication by parties other than cybercriminals. It could occasionally be a person you know and even trust.
Whether it’s a previous long-term spouse or someone you only met once, sextortion by someone you know is just as prevalent. For a variety of causes, including rage, resentment, financial hardship, and even loneliness, people may blackmail another.
People aren’t always as trustworthy as they may appear, so it’s vital to be aware of your behavior and be selective about what you disclose with others.
How to avoid being subjected to sextortion
- With email attachments, use caution. Never open email attachments from unknown senders, and always confirm that the email address is legitimate. Scammers may pose as your coworkers, acquaintances, or bank employees. If you accept a dubious attachment, you may place malware on your computer that gives criminals access to your camera and lets them take private information.
- Never send strangers sexually explicit material. Don’t give them explicit photos and videos if you don’t know them well and have never really met them. Even while it may seem clear, many individuals continue to fall into this trap. Sending sensitive information via email or messaging applications is not recommended if you wish to discuss private information with someone you know and trust.
- Create secure passwords. Create strong passwords and stay away from using the same password across all of your accounts. Keeping passwords secure is one technique to prevent issues since password leaks or theft are a common cause of sextortion assaults. Consider utilizing a password manager and creating lengthy passwords containing unusual characters, letters, and digits.
- Obtain a VPN. Your traffic is redirected over an encrypted tunnel by a VPN, making your surfing secret and your important data protected. By hiding your IP address, FreeZone VPN ensures that it cannot be used to identify you. Continually remain connected to a VPN server to reduce your vulnerability to hacking. Threat Protection, a cutting-edge security feature offered by FreeZone VPN, scans downloaded files for malware and eliminates invasive trackers and advertisements.
How to handle blackmail and sextortion
Do your best to remain calm if you are being blackmailed. Even though it could seem as though everything is falling apart, assistance and support are accessible. It’s crucial to keep in mind that threatening to divulge your private information is a strategy, and blackmailers don’t always make good on their promises.
What to do if someone threatens to reveal your private sexual information is as follows:
- All communication must end. Continue negotiating with the offenders if you want to try to take control of the issue, but it’s preferable to terminate any communication altogether.
- Don’t accede to the demands of the perpetrators. Trying to solve the problem on your own could backfire. Whether the offending person is requesting money or more material, keep in mind that you can’t trust their word and that caving in to their requests is probably not going to help.
- Report the offender and block them. Depending on the location of the blackmailing, it’s crucial to notify the perpetrators. As an illustration, report the occurrence to the social media firm and deactivate their profile so they can no longer contact you if they are targeting you on social media. Report it as well if your private information has already been disclosed. On most websites, it is strictly forbidden to distribute private information without permission.
- Keep the proof. Record every discussion you have ever had with the objectionable individual. The more proof you have, the better. Take screenshots of their texts and threats.
- Inform the authorities about sextortion. There are various options if you’re wondering how to report sexual blackmail to the authorities. Please visit the FBI website to learn more about these processes since they may differ by state.