Sextortion: what is it and how to prevent it: Dangers, causes, and prevention of Sextortion

Abhishek Ranavat

What's Sextortion?

Sextortion is a combo of the terms "sex" and "extortion."A type of sexual blackmail is sextortion. It involves a perverse party obtaining someone's personal sexual details, images, or videos and threatening to publicise them. Sextortion can occur to anyone, however it is most common among young people. In other cases,A perpetrator demands money, sexual favors, or sexual images in exchange for keeping your private and sensitive information a secret. Sexual extortion is a terrible and dehumanizing crime that thrives on victim humiliation. Sextortion and internet blackmail have the same demands that the victim engage in sexual activity, such as posing for naked photos or masturbating in front of a webcam, or provide a significant amount of money.

On a variety of online venues, sextortion or sexual blackmail can occur (particularly where webcams are used). Criminals may target individuals on adult, dating, social networking, chat, or webcam websites.

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 employer, 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.

Facebook sextortion

Catfishing sextortion has a popular subgenre known as Facebook sextortion. A friend request from an unidentified individual is the typical first step. They might also use Facebook Messenger to send a direct message. After engaging in conversation with their victim, the catfisher will request intimate photos or videos. If this occurs to you and you cave, you will probably end up the victim of an extortion attempt for cash or additional sexually explicit images or acts, with the criminal using your images and films as leverage.

A lot of Facebook scams and schemes to get rich quick are really obvious and simple to detect. A person who seems "too good to be true" is typically involved in poorly handled Facebook extortion schemes. You may have seen them: friend requests from accounts with a photo of a female in tight clothes and an offensive bio.

Sextortion through social media is the most common type. Sextortonists establish close relationships with their prospective victims through internet communication and/or SMS. Sextortionists can invite their victims to carry on the chat on another platform even though it may have started on Facebook. They might invite you to send them an email or start a chat on a messaging app like Skype or WhatsApp, for example. The scammers use many channels, including - to commit sextortion utilising the above-described usual tactic :-

• Messaging apps

• Dating apps

• Social media platforms

• Porn sites etc.,

Warning indicators that suggest victimisation

• Signs of fear, nervousness, anxiety, depression

• Isolating self and being very reactive & emotional

• Feeling desperate and frustrated

• Having suicidal thoughts and self harming behavior.

How to Prevent Sextortion

Here are some useful tips to prevent sextortion :

  • Don’t share too much information about yourself online.
  • Use nicknames on dating sites and, ideally, don’t connect them to your other social media accounts.
  • Cover your webcam when you’re not using it.
  • Only click on links and downloadable attachments from senders you trust.
  • Install good anti-malware software to detect suspicious emails and files that might compromise your PC and its webcam.

Law with regard to this offence in India : -

It is a punishable offence by law and attracts section 354 (D), 506 / 507, 509 IPC and 384 IPC,and Sec.67 of IT Act is also applicable.

Section 108(1)(i)(a) of the Criminal Procedure Code empowers the victim to approach the local magistrate and tell him or her about the person she thinks would spread any offensive material. The magistrate has the authority to place such person(s) in custody and might ask him to sign a bail in order to prevent him from disseminating the information. This could discourage the accused. This is a brief phase of corrective action because the victim need not present the accused with any direct evidence before filing a complaint with the magistrate.

Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) incriminates any person who distributes or threatens to disperse any intimate and compromising images of someone through any electronic means, including apps and other social media.

If a picture of woman is clicked in an obscene manner without her knowledge and is distributed, a voyeurism case under Section 354C of the IPC can also be filed along with the aid of other relevant sections from the Information Technology Act.

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