Do not let the crooks online take you for a ride

Updated: 29 September, 2020 07:34 IST | The Editorial | Mumbai

Most times, blackmailers become greedy, upping their demands and holding the sceptre of more shame, more humiliation till their targets pay more and more. In extreme cases, people have been driven to suicide when pushed over the edge by extortionists

This image has been used for representational purposes only
This image has been used for representational purposes only

A front-page report in this paper cited one of the fallouts of the pandemic. Loneliness and the virtual world we have been forced to inhabit have resulted in many, especially among the youth, willing to connect with unknown people online and in the process, getting lured by fake accounts. This is happening on Facebook and Instagram.

The modus operandi of the crooks is to lure people into having a video call, morph their pictures or take screenshots of them on these chats and threaten to make them public. The sextortionists are having a field day blackmailing terrified users with threats of naming and shaming them.

Many petrified surfers, afraid that they have fallen into the trap, pay up as they feel this is their only recourse. What is important for people to know, not just in these cases but in others too, is that blackmail usually escalates if demands are met first or the victim gives in.

Most times, blackmailers become greedy, upping their demands and holding the sceptre of more shame, more humiliation till their targets pay more and more. In extreme cases, people have been driven to suicide when pushed over the edge by extortionists.

Here too it is important to guard against traps and not get into chats like these. If for any reason information has been compromised and demands are being made after pictures have been morphed or sexting has been faked, it is better for the victim to say that they are not going to pay. Be absolutely definite, refuse to negotiate and do not succumb to any demands. The next step is to state unequivocally that you will seek police action if there is any harassment. Be firm and decisive. Last, go to the cyber police if the sextortionist refuses to relent. Do not give up as this means emboldening the crooks and a never-ending nightmare for you, the target.

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First Published: 29 September, 2020 06:19 IST

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