Online Sexual Blackmail
The popular use of online communication has given rise to online sexual predators, who come up with innovative ways to take advantage of unsuspecting men, women and teenagers. These predators use various methods to seduce or pressure a victim to do sexual favours, and often threaten the victim with embarrassment if they do not do it. This online sexual blackmail is sometimes called Sextortion, or Romance Scam. Victims are usually lured through social media sites, while the blackmailers are part of criminal gangs in other countries.
How does the online sexual blackmail take place?
There are 2 main techniques used by blackmailers:
- Predators befriend people on social media and gaming sites, gain their trust and entice them to send revealing or naked photos of themselves. By threatening to post these photos online, the predator can extort more and more illicit images. Some victims are fooled into taking part in explicit video chats via Skype. A recording of the explicit video is then used to extort money from the victim, with the blackmailer threatening that it will be posted online.
- Another technique involves using malware to hijack a victim’s webcam. The predator is able switch it on and off, taking revealing photos or videos without the victim’s knowledge, which can then be used to extort money from the victim.
Does this happen in Brunei?
There have been many recent incidents where a sexual act is caught on camera and the victim is then threatened with the public release of the sexual images unless they make a payment to the extortionist.
Protect yourself from being a victim
- Don’t spend too much time on social networks. It could change your behaviour and lead you to do or say things that you wouldn’t normally do in the real world.
- Avoid having online video conversations with strangers. You never know if it’s being recorded.
- Avoid keeping any nude or personal pictures on your computer, because once you are connected to the Internet, there’s a risk that hackers can access your files and use them as tools for extortion.
- Cover your webcam when not in use, or point it at a blank wall.