There are different types of cyber crimes and one that is increasingly affecting the entire world is online sextortion. While online dating and matchmaking have become quite common these days certain people have been experienced the darker side of the process being victims of blackmailing. The process adopted by these online criminals is quite simple. They start with contacting the victim online who belongs to the other gender and records all their chats that contain various sexually colored contents.
They and the photographs shared are manipulated into presenting a highly objectionable content and that is used online to blackmail the hapless victim that stepped into the booby trap unknowingly. The question, therefore, is how to prevent walking into such a trap and how to remain safe against possible online sextortion.
Anyone Can be Affected by Online Sextortion
The greatest problem in this regard is that anyone at any time can become the victim of online sextortion causing mental trauma and fear of social stigma and eventually such people become the victims of sextortion online. Due to rapid strides made by information technology the chances of such cyber-crimes have grown quite considerably in recent times. Criminals can now target a vast community of innocent people including the ones that are not very active online.
Employees in All Sectors are Major Victims of Online Sextortion
The easiest and most vulnerable to the crime of online sextortion are the employees in various sectors. They not only fall victim to this type of activity but also are more concerned about their professional and personal reputation so that they also usually do not report the matter to the law enforcement authorities to escape social embarrassments. Moreover, it is difficult proving that someone with whom he or she was intimate online has been involved in criminal activity against the victim.
How to Stay Safe from Online Sextortion
The following are a few tips for Internet users to stay safe from online sextortion.
- Users of the Internet have to be careful about answering unknown people online however attractive it might appear to them;
- People committing such crimes make a thorough preparation for targeting the victims and they continually evolved their tactics and that is why anyone must check the authenticity of the person contacting them online; and
- It will be good gathering enough information from informative and educative websites about how the cybercrime is committed so that they can make an informed decision about responding to online offers including dating and romancing proposals received from unknown senders; and
- Use software or tools to detect the fishing mails among others.
However, the best way to stay safe from online sextortion is avoiding any unknown source sending mail, a proposal for dating and romance, or business offers.
Social Distancing to Avoid Online Sextortion
Just as social distancing is one of the major deterrents for preventing the spread of dreaded coronavirus infections such as social distancing in the web world can considerably prevent cyber crimes like online sextortion. It is rightly said that prevention is better than cure. The best way is to prevent such sextortion from occurring staying away from malicious emails, links, and apps uploaded by unscrupulous operators targeting innocent victims online.
The reason is that it would be much easier because the users can nip in the bud dispensing with chances of suffering sextortion. On the other hand, it may not be as easy repairing the damages after becoming the victim of such exploitation by cybercriminals. Thus winning over the greed of romancing and other baits offered by the criminal and avoiding becoming subject to their advances is the best way of reducing the scope of cyber crimes like online sextortion.
Why is Online Sextortion Rampant?
In any country and especially in countries like the USA, UK, and other countries in Europe and developing economies like India where the numerical strength of Internet users has been growing consistently the cases of online sextortion are quite rampant. There are several reasons for such a situation.
- Lack of awareness among Internet users about actions that can land them into becoming the victim of such cyber-crimes;
- Despite consistent efforts by the authorities the cybercrime comes under most under-reported category preventing law enforcement authorities from taking action against the wrongdoers and this encourages the criminals to commit such offenses repeatedly; and
- The cybercriminals are often backed by a strong group of criminals extending their support and they protect the criminals from the law enforcement authorities.
Evolving Patterns of Online Sextortion
Like most other areas of technologies, the pattern of the online sextortion has been evolving. This type of activity is based on the use of information technology and the migration from traditional emails to providing apps for making sexual exploitation online has been quite visible. A decade ago these criminals used to send emails from private domains to numerous other people. However with the advancement of technologies the process of sextortion they found better methods like using familiar email domains like Google, Yahoo, and others.
The reason is that most of the emails ended up in the spam folders of the recipients and the use of familiar email domains increased their success rate. The change was not confined to the use of familiar domains alone but also they started altering the contents like the use of images instead of text contents. To make the contents more effective they also started using local languages in the contents including the use of translators for the purpose. Thus the criminals are also evolving and advancing their working process for online sextortion and the Internet users must stay conversant with the new scenario.
The bottom line of all these is that to stay safe against the threats of online sextortion the best way is to stay away from any suspicious mail, apps, or proposed software that is the only protection against the rapidly growing threat of such sextortion.