What is sextortion? Simplifying, we can define the concept as a kind of blackmail in which the «blackmailer» threatens to make public images or videos of a person unless they make a payment in exchange, send you new pictures or even sexual favors.
Sextortion also occurs when the blackmailer threatens to harm our family or friends by using information obtained from their electronic devices, unless the blackmailed person complies with their demands.
Where does sextortion start? This crime can start on any site, app, or game where people meet and communicate. In some cases, the extortionist’s first contact will be a threat. The blackmailer may claim that they already have an explicit photo or video in their possession that they will share if the victim does not submit more photos or videos.
What strategies do cybercriminals use? This crime can be executed through a range of possibilities. In line with what has been stated, there is no doubt about the vulnerability that victims of this crime face when their photos or videos are used against them. The following scenarios serve as examples:
i) Sextortion by email: In this case, through email, videos or photos of a sexual nature are threatened to be made public unless money is sent or acts of sexual content are carried out.
ii) Sextortion through social networks: The widespread use of social networks favors this scenario, in which the blackmailer will coerce the victim to send photographs, undress in front of the camera, or any other sexually charged requests. A posteriori, the blackmailer will use the images and videos obtained as a means of blackmail.
iii) Sextortion through hacked accounts: In this case it is someone who has in their possession photos or videos that the victim has uploaded or stored in social networks or chat applications.
What should we do if we think we are being sexually blackmailed? First of all, not agree to their demands; second, report the facts to the police; third, stop interacting with the blackmailer; fourth, not to erase anything, it is the means of proof with which one has, fifth, go to a lawyer who is an expert in sextortion or sexual blackmail.
How can we protect ourselves? Total security does not exist, however we can pay attention to the following recommendations:
i) Be selective about what you share online. If social media accounts are open to everyone, an extortionist or predator can uncover a lot of information.
ii) Pay attention to anyone who is online for the first time. A good option is to block or ignore messages from strangers.
iii) It should be considered that people can pretend to be anything or anyone online. Videos and photos are not proof that a person is who they say they are.
iv) You should be suspicious if you meet someone in a game or application and then ask to start talking to them on a different platform.
v) We must be aware that any content that is created online, be it a text message, a photo or a video, can be made public. And once sent, control over the next destination is lost.
For all this, from Guerra Bermúdez Abogados, as a firm specialized in Criminal Law, we can advise and accompany you in any situation that arises anywhere in Spain.