The Internet and technology have penetrated nearly every aspect of our daily lives. This has created many positive conveniences, but also provides criminals with opportunities to reach new victims.
It is important to protect yourself and your devices from criminals who wish to exploit them. However, technology is constantly evolving and criminals are always finding new ways to manipulate it, so you must always remain vigilant and adopt new safety measures on a regular basis.
Here are some tips on how to stay safe. There are also many other valuable resources offering online safety advice, and we encourage you to use all available information to protect yourself and your activities.
Sextortion is defined as blackmail in which sexual information or images are used to extort sexual favours and/or money from the victim.
This online blackmail is often conducted by sophisticated organized criminal networks operating out of business-like locations similar to call centres.
Though there is no one method by which criminal target their victims, many individuals are targeted through websites including social media, dating, webcam or adult pornography sites.
Criminals often target hundreds of individuals around the world simultaneously, in an attempt to increase their chances of finding a victim.
How does it happen?
The blackmailer might assume the identity of an attractive man or woman then, after gaining the victim’s trust, will record footage of the victim in the nude or performing a sexual act.
The blackmailer threatens to circulate this footage to the victim’s friends or post it online unless a certain amount of money is paid.
In another method, the engagement between the victim and the criminal is interrupted by a child appearing on the screen during the sex act.
The victim then receives a demand, often appearing to come from a police agency, stating that an investigation will be launched unless the victim pays.
What to do if you believe you are being targeted?
Immediately cease all contact with the individual and report the matter to your local police and online service provider. If the blackmail is occurring through a social network, also alert the administrator.
Do not pay the money which is being demanded.