Here are three ways where you can help protect yourself from being targeted from online sextortion threats.
Over the past several years, the world has gotten a lot closer due to the sheer strength of the internet. While the internet is a great way of staying abreast of news and other media, keeping in touch with family and even connecting with long-lost friends. There is an increasing cesspool of rackets that are gradually rearing its ugly head which is causing unwarranted grief, stress and the like for unsuspecting individuals.
Sextortion, online blackmail, and other types of online extortion is a rampant issue that can be thoroughly invasive, stressful and at times, approaching it with a rational, clear mind can be rather cumbersome.
In this post, we are going to give you as much help and provide you with everything you need to know to fight against blackmail and online sextortion.
The key point here is to stay strong and make sure you follow these steps even though some of these methods may appear to be counterintuitive to what your gut is telling you.
If you believe you are a victim of online sextortion or blackmail, here are some points you need to keep in mind.
Maintain all evidence
This may come as a surprise but it is absolutely imperative that you should preserve all communications, materials that are offensive and any information the extortionist has communicated with you. While your knee-jerk reaction may be to delete any content that is embarrassing or publicly humiliating, due to the fact that you may be duped or conned, just don’t. This is extremely tangible evidence that will help support your case.
If you delete any picture, video or any media that’s being used against you, you are inevitably putting the ball in the extortionist’s court. It is also advisable to have a person you trust to assist in the documentation and vetting process. This will help in refuting any claims by the cyber blackmailer that you have tampered with said evidence.
What’s of dire importance is that you should record the date and time on which the blackmail happened. It is very necessary that your story should be as detailed as possible. It is necessary that you should establish a verifiable chronological order of events when standing up to an online blackmailer. These little bits of information can either make or break a case, so it is imperative that you have everything in order.
Stop engaging further with the extortionist
Extortionists are more likely than not engaging with several victims at a time as they are constantly seeking out people who have the greatest possibility of paying off a ransom. The thought may occur to you that it is necessary to pay a blackmailer within the specified timeframe; we implore you to refrain from engaging with the perpetrator further.
The extortionist may come up with a follow-up and threaten to release these questionable images or videos to your family, friends and colleagues. The most important thing to do here is to stay strong and don’t give in. Just seek legal or police help as soon as possible.
Just don’t pay any amount no matter how financially secure you may be. Paying sextortionists only reaffirms one thing — that you are an easy victim and will succumb to the pressure that you have been confronted with. Never pay them or engage with them further. This also includes offers to negotiate the ransom as it implies your willingness to bow down to their demands. You have more power than you think.
Change all your online privacy settings
After you have been contacted by an extortionist, and you are tensed about the blackmailer accessing your social media profile’s contact list then consider changing all your online privacy settings immediately. A lot of the major social media websites have specific filters that you can use to prevent an extortionist from viewing your personal information, photographs, profiles and friends list.
Blocking the blackmailer is also an option you should be considering. There are specific ways to prevent them from accessing your contact list. Also, all linked social media accounts should be protected and locked down. The key here is to reveal as little of yourself as possible.
If things get drastic, then deleting your social media accounts is another option.
Set up Google Alerts
It is always advisable to set up a Google Alerts account to receive notifications whenever your name is mentioned online. This will be a great way to stay abreast where monitoring your online reputation. It is also worth noting that if a blackmailer does decide to post your information somewhere, you will be notified immediately and this will help decrease its shelf-life online.
After doing this, and you see your malicious information online, it is important for you to go back to step one and preserve all the evidence.
Contact the cybercrime unit or an experienced attorney immediately
Going head-on with a sextortionist alone is a daunting task. This requires the help of your cybercrime unit or a trained attorney with proficiency in internet malpractices like these. While approaching the situation alone is a viable option, taking help for experienced personnel can help prevent future attacks or blackmails.