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Due to the popularity of messaging apps, social media and online dating, the exchange of explicit materials over the internet has become common. Also, webcam and smartphones have made it easier for people to record themselves or be recorded in secret. Hence, Sextortion has become a common crime in many parts of the world.
What is Sextortion?
Sextortion can be described as sexual extortion. It is a crime that involves sexual materials where someone threatens to distribute sensitive or private materials if you fail to provide them with sexual favours, images of a sexual act or money. Sextortion has become a concern in different parts of the world due to its wide range of targets that include women, men, and vulnerable people.
Apart from the emotional impacts, most cases are not reported because the victims feel embarrassed. Also, the perpetrators threaten to share the videos or images with family and friends or publish them on social media. Therefore, the victim may fear to report the cases and probably provide the required materials that include money or sexual favours.
According to various studies, most sextortion victims are women. However, men are not immune to sextortion. Several students and celebrities have been tricked to share their naked pictures via messaging apps and later used for Sextortion.
Means of Sextortion
Sextortion is a crime that can happen through several means that include:
Social media– today, many sextortion scams start on social media. The perpetrator will threaten the victim on social media into sending videos or images, perform sexual acts, or get naked on camera.
Email phishing schemes– you may receive an email stating that the sender has passwords of the victim. They then threaten to publish your photos or videos unless you perform sexual acts or send some money.
Hacked webcams– some hackers download viruses onto your gadget to take control of cameras and microphones. They then start to monitor your moves.
Hacked account– if you have shared or stored some explicit images through social media, someone can hack your accounts and have them. They can later use the videos or images for sextortion.
How to avoid becoming a victim of Sextortion Scams
- Update your anti-virus software
One way to ensure you do not become a victim of sextortion scams is having the latest anti-virus software. With an updated anti-virus program, you can be safe from various online attacks such as sextortion. You can involve It support company in London to ensure your anti-virus software is updated for it to become effective.
- Ensure your pictures are PG-rated
Avoid sharing or posting online explicit images and videos of yourself. Keep in mind that when you share or post any content online, you cannot control it. Even if the picture is hidden behind a password lock, you can become a victim of sextortion.
- Use strong passwords
In most cases, sextortion victims are targeted once an account has been hacked. A criminal will use videos and images you might have shared, posted or stored within your account. Also, they can use your friend and family contacts to threaten you. Therefore, it is important to use strong passwords on all your accounts. Thus, the criminal cannot hack your accounts.
- Turn off or disable webcams when not in use
Even though criminals might not have control of your webcams or microphones, it is wise to be safe than being a victim. Hence, ensure you have turned off or disabled the webcams when you are not using them. There are cases while webcams are hacked to film people while changing clothes or having sex.
- Avoid opening attachments from people you do not know
Today, many messaging and email platforms have decent spam filters. But some spam emails may slip into your inbox. If you notice some emails with attachments for people you do not know, avoid opening them.
- Use common sense
Some attacks are committed by people who convince victims to share or post explicit videos or images for fun. Hence, use your common sense to avoid becoming a victim of sextortion.
Sextortion is an embarrassing topic and it is not mostly talked about. But if you have been a victim, it is essential to file a report. This not only affects individuals but also companies, if the phishing emails are sent to work addresses. Which is why it is always important to engage an IT Support Company to ensure your accounts are safe and your systems are prepared with advanced security programs.