What is sextortion ? how to avoid being a victim?
Consider the following scenario: You receive an email from an unknown user on a routine day. The letter asserts that they recorded video evidence with your webcam as proof and kept track of the pornographic websites you visited.
Sextortion is demonstrated in the scenario above. Threats to post sexually graphic pictures or videos of the victims are used to blackmail victims. Are these alleged “sextorters” in possession of actual pictures of their victims? How can you be certain that you avoid being a victim? What kind of sextortion are there? This essay will provide answers to all of these queries and more.
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What actually is Sextortion?
Blackmailing a victim is considered sextortion, a crime. If the victim doesn’t pay up or do further sexual acts, the extortionist may share pictures, videos, or details about their sexual tastes. Typically, the offender threatens to reveal the sexual details to the victim’s relatives, coworkers, friends, and other contacts. As an alternative, the material might be posted on a sizable (porn) web site.
Sextorers typically have a strong understanding of how to make their victims extremely afraid. They could display screenshots or photographs from conversations that are particularly graphic. Additionally, they frequently scan the victim’s social media platforms to learn about their loved ones and acquaintances. Even if it’s frequently a lie, they will let the victim know that they can ruin their reputation at any time.
How does it Works? Getting Explicit Photos of the Victims
Many times, sextortionists are really bluffing; they don’t truly have any intimate recordings or photographs of their victims but instead use fear as a driving force. However, this isn’t always the case. Some offenders acquire graphic visions of their victims in a variety of ways:
- The offender may engage in sexually explicit conversations with the victim and pressure them into sharing images of themselves by first delivering stolen images and videos.
- They frequently don’t realize this when it occurs. The victim may be tricked into downloading a malicious file by a sextort to do this.
- By using threats to coerce the victim into engaging in sexual activity in front of their webcam: in this instance, the sextortion scheme has probably already been in place for some time. Following the initial blackmail, this tactic is typically utilized to gain more material.
Who are the typical Victims?
Only victims under the age of 18 are involved in 71% of cases. In 14% of cases, there are both children and adults as victims. Only adult victims are involved in 13% of the incidents.
Different Methods of Sextortion
Sextortionists employ a variety of tactics to persuade their victims to comply with their requests. You can avoid sextortion if you are aware of some of its more prevalent forms and traits. We’ll discuss a couple of them below because of this.
Email Fishing Scams
Additionally, sextortionists may run so-called sextortion email campaigns. Anyone can become a victim of these tactics since they are so frequently used. Attackers will write a frightful email and distribute it to hundreds of recipients.
Typically, the offender will assert that they have access to the victim’s webcam in the email. They’ll claim that they made use of that access to record the victim while they were having sex. As an alternative, the attacker can threaten to divulge a list of the victim’s favorite adult websites.
Social Media Sextortion (Facebook)
A common variation of catfishing sextortion is social media sextortion. Frequently, it begins with a friend request from an unidentified individual. As an alternative, they might use Facebook Messenger to send a direct message. The catfisher will request intimate pictures or videos after speaking with their victim. If this happens to you and you cave, the criminal will probably use your photos and films as leverage to extort you for money or additional sexual photographs or acts.
However, there are some highly convincing fake profiles to be found as well, given the abundance of cunning cybercriminals and social engineers in the world. As a result, it is important to recognize the risks associated with Facebook sextortion.
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Sextortion by your former partners
So far, the majority of our cases have included criminals operating sextortion schemes. However, sextortion can be committed by individuals you know. Any anyone, such as an ex, who has access to sexually explicit information or photographs of you, could subject you to blackmail.
Of course, revenge-themed porn is considerably more prevalent during and after partnerships. However, there have been instances where sextortionists have used blackmail to force their partner to remain with them, provide them more pornographic photographs, or perform sexual favors. There is no need for catfishing or spam emails because this type of sextortion is far more personal.
A common starting point for sextortion instances online is catfishing. When catfishing, the attacker will assume another person’s identity. This person will typically be either exceptionally gorgeous, such as a stunning young woman or a handsome, wealthy businessman, or relatable, such as someone who shares the victim’s hobbies.
Sextorts who are skilled at catfishing operate very cunningly. They use stolen images and extensive profile content to construct convincing fake social media profiles.
The perpetrator would frequently approach numerous persons on various social media and dating platforms after creating a few profiles. They’ll add them as friends, check out their profiles, or send them a message.
They will begin chatting up a victim as soon as they react in order to gain their trust and learn more about them. The next phase is to collect sexually graphic pictures of the victim to utilize in a sextortion plot.
What to do if you are a victim of sextortion?
- Not to worry. You are not alone, and it is not your fault. Keep that in mind.
- Inform a person you can trust so they can encourage you to get assistance.
- Stop exchanging messages with the offender.
- Don’t heed their threats by sending them cash or more private information.
- Keep the proof of their threats and extortion on your smartphone.
- Visit https://www.cybercrime.gov.in/ to get in touch or report the crime.
What are the consequences for Sextortion Victims?
Sextortion has far-reaching repercussions for its victims. In order to resume living a regular life, one out of every eight victims said they had to relocate.
Sometimes victims experience such despair that they choose to end their lives. Not only are perpetrators harming their victim’s life, but they also run the risk of destroying their own. Sextortion is punished harshly in several jurisdictions.
For all parties concerned, sextortion has major (possible) implications. Therefore, the best course of action for both the offender and the victim is to keep as far away from it as you can.
How to Prevent Sextortion?
Sextortion must absolutely be avoided given the repercussions and the anguish victims experience. But how can we accomplish that when so much of our romantic relationships now take place online? The following advice can help you avoid becoming the next sextortion victim:
- Post as little of your personal information as you can.
- To keep your data secret, use the privacy settings on social media. On Facebook, for instance, you can hide your friends and specific profile information. Additionally, check the settings on your Twitter, Instagram, and other social media accounts.
- On dating websites, use a nickname. This makes it more challenging for sextortionists to identify you and identify your family, friends, and associates.
- Do not accept a friend request from someone you don’t know, or a follow request.
- Avoid downloading files and clicking on links from strangers, and exercise caution when opening unexpected attachments from people you know.
- When not in use, cover your webcam. You can use some extremely affordable webcam covers for this. You need only move the cover to the side to use your webcam, and once you’re done, you’ll cover it back up.
- Install a reliable antivirus program with integrated email protection. You should be able to filter out some (perhaps dangerous) emails with the aid of good email protection, such as sextortion communications that include harmful files and links.
Always Stay Safe and Report Sextortion
Sextortion can have serious repercussions for both the victim and the offender. It’s a serious type of cybercrime, so we urge victims to get in touch with the police, file complaints, and gather any proof of the crime.
Although, it’s preferable to avoid it altogether. You can do this by implementing sensible habits like covering your webcam when not in use, being cautious with what you post online, and never accepting friend requests from people you don’t know.