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5 Tips to Stop Online Blackmail

We are all too acquainted with the term “internet blackmail”; reports of cases involving losses in the millions are being made worldwide. Your pocketbook and heart can be spared if you know how to handle cyberstalking. Read on to learn everything there is to know about cyber blackmail, whether you are a target or you know someone who is.

Blackmail on the internet may be frightening, awkward, and upsetting. You have several legal choices if you’re wondering how to handle blackmail. It is illegal to use blackmail, regardless of where you reside. Even though you might be reluctant to ask for assistance, you must contact the authorities and see a lawyer.

Also Read: Optimal Approaches to Internal Linking for Enhanced Accessibility

If you are facing blackmail, you should take the following concrete actions:

  • Avoid the temptation to converse with the blackmailer;
  • Avoid attempting to bargain or giving the ransom.
  • Keep all correspondence and proof safe.
  • Enlist the assistance of a reliable individual to record the evidence;
  • Modify your privacy preferences on the internet;
  • Configure alerts online;
  • Inform the police about the crime;
  • Speak with an internet lawyer with experience.

Understanding Online Blackmailing

Online blackmail is a crime with potentially dire consequences that can take many different forms. Online blackmail typically begins with threats made against the target. These threats typically leave the victim in a terrible situation, unsure of what to do next. They can also take the shape of demands for money in exchange for not disclosing their explicit content or information.

Even though this crime can happen on any platform, it typically begins on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and other well-known dating or social networking apps. These widely used apps have become a haven for criminal activity due to their lack of privacy and the convenience of having all your information at your fingertips. The best defense against online thieves is to keep your information as secret as possible.

Know the Blackmailing Modus Operandi

Scammers, blackmailers, and cyberterrorists all adhere to the same fundamental strategy: manipulating emotions. They attempt to win your trust by employing techniques like over-flattery and love bombing. Constant attention or pressuring the relationship to progress faster than usual are two ways this can manifest. They know they can ask the victim anything once they have gained their trust. These requests can take many forms, such as distributing embarrassing or explicit information or content.

At this point, the con evolves into online blackmail. After that, the blackmailer will start using terror tactics to manipulate the victim into doing whatever they want. Threats may appear as follows:

  • Screen grabs of their fans and pals;
  • Altered or Photoshopped images of them;
  • Contacting their employer of record;
  • Messages sent in groups to loved ones, friends, and/or significant others.

Steps You Can Take When Someone Is Blackmailing You

Although becoming the victim of online extortion can be a terrible experience, you can take steps immediately to protect yourself.

Keep your distance from the blackmailer

First and foremost, immediately cut off all contact with the blackmailer. Reacting could lead to more violent threats because you can be perceived as a simple mark. It is best to take no action at all. Refrain from negotiating and never yield to pressure.

Inform the FBI about Internet extortion

You should notify the authorities as soon as you have obtained the greatest amount of proof possible. You can complain at the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3). 

After being evaluated, complaints submitted to IC3 may be forwarded to regional, national, state, or foreign law enforcement or regulatory reputation organizations for additional investigation. 

Just complete the IC3 online form to submit the complaint. Accept the terms and conditions, input your details, explain the incident, attach the supporting documentation, and sign and submit the complaint.

Keep all correspondence as proof

If you’re being blackmailed online, you should gather as much information as possible about the blackmail. Take screenshots of every correspondence and note any usernames, emails, or phone numbers that may include personal information about the blackmailer.

These proofs act as a solid backup concerning your defense. Even if you are placed in a position where you must submit some vital information that justifies the state that you’re in, collecting proofs in any form or capacity is crucial.

Maintain a demeanor that’s as calm as possible

It’s critical to maintain your composure whether you’re facing a situation like revenge porn, sextortion, or blackmail. Extortion is designed to be stressful since the person doing it deliberately attempts to “rattle” you. 

The extortionist will have more power over the situation the more terrified you are. Always keep in mind that you are a victim of crime and that you have legal recourse. In the ensuing sections, we shall elucidate practical strategies for countering blackmail.

Avoid engaging with the culprit

A blackmailer will have greater power and influence over the issue the more you interact with them. Blackmailers can see your answers as proof that you’re a simple victim who would give in to their pressure. When kids realize this, they could become more demanding.

For the same reasons that you don’t want to interact with them, you also don’t want to bargain or give the extortionist money. They will only get more power if you negotiate with them or give in to their demands, and they will probably use that power to issue additional threats.

 See this educational film to find out how to keep yourself safe from sextortion. Learn important tactics and advice for protecting your private data and handling cyberbullying.

Preserve as much evidence as possible

As a bonus tip, we’d like to inform you that before blocking a blackmailer, screenshot all correspondence and any pertinent proof. This could entail grabbing a screen grab of their social media profile image and any abusive content they have sent you.

You can save pertinent evidence at no cost by using the screenshot feature on your phone or the snipping tool on your PC (Ctrl + PrtScr). For those seeking a more sophisticated solution for evidence preservation, Visualping and Page Vault are good substitutes.

Even if some of the evidence may seem embarrassing, it may still be verifiable proof that advances your position. It will be difficult, if possible, for law enforcement or an attorney to assist you if you remove important evidence.

What is the maximum punishment for extortion or blackmail?

Blackmail is punished differently in every state and by the federal government. Extortion and blackmail are typically felonies with jail time as a possible punishment. In several states, different levels of extortion and blackmail involve physical danger, which is punishable by law.

Here are a few instances of how various states penalize those who commit blackmail:

Ohio –  Extortion is a third-degree felony that carries a maximum fine of $10,000 along with a sentence of one to five years in jail.

NY – Sentences for extortion-related theft vary depending on the amount of the stolen goods and whether any violence took place. Blackmail is a class “E” felony, at the very least, carrying a maximum 4-year penalty.

TX – Extortion is classified as theft, and the severity of the punishment depends on several variables, including the value of the stolen goods. At the very least, a conviction can result in fines, jail terms, or both. 

Conclusion

In summary, dealing with cyberbullying requires knowledge and skills. Internet crimes are not going away anytime soon, and we need to stay updated on their strategies as they get more cunning. You can protect yourself from these bothersome thieves by being alert and maintaining the security of your accounts.

As you can see, there are ways to deal with blackmail on the Internet, confront the problem, and take precautions to keep yourself safe.

Always remember that the most crucial thing is to gather evidence, disclose it to the appropriate authorities, and never give in to pressure. After reporting the incident, your attention should be directed toward taking precautions to preserve your online privacy so that it never occurs again.

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