Mumbai: Every other day, there is news related to sextortion, which points to the dismal fact that such explicit crimes are on the rise. The worrying trend can now be statistically confirmed by the data provided by the Mumbai Police.
The numbers are shocking as they revealed that a total of 54 sextortion cases were registered in 2021, while 61 offences have been filed alone between January and August this year.
The data further informed that 30 out of 52 cases were detected last year and 52 people arrested for their involvement in the crime of blackmailing people on the threat of making their obscene photos public. Whereas, 14 out of 61 cases have been cracked this year, with the arrests of 23 people.
Elaborating further about the “serious crime”, a cyber cop requesting anonymity said, “Sextortion occurs when someone threatens to distribute your private and sensitive material such as images of sexual nature if you don't provide them money.
Many people online are not who they are. One should avoid talking to people they don't know online. Understand that any content procured on a web-enabled device can be made public.” If you are being threatened or coerced online, tell someone who can help you out.
Make use of privacy settings on your social media profiles. Sexual extortion, also called ‘sextortion’, is a kind of blackmail. The perpetrator demands sexual favours, money, or other benefits under the threat of sharing intimate or sexually explicit material, it was added.
Explaining how these sextortion rackets operate, the cop further said that cyber criminals create a fake account with the display picture of an attractive woman. Then, they invite the target to chat with the woman and subsequently entice him to have a video call.
“The accused then secretly records the explicit video of the victim. In some cases, the victims are even asked to download some app, which contains malware that steals the victim's contact and data from the phone, which the accused later uses to blackmail the victims. Cyber-criminals threaten to expose the victim's videos if they don't pay a hefty sum of money. The accused even shows the victim's contact list to scare them more,” said the official.
Speaking about what measures one should take to ensure they don't fall prey to such crimes, it was said that once a victim has fallen in the trap, the individual should not panic, immediately stop communicating with the perpetrator and report the matter to the police station.
The victim should also preserve the evidence of blackmail and threats. It's important that one should understand the potential risks of communicating with strangers in the digital realm. Never share personal information with strangers.
“Citizens should ensure that their numbers are not made available on social media as that can be misused by fraudsters. In cases of sextortion, fraudsters hit the psyche of the victim,” said deputy commissioner and city police spokesperson Balsingh Rajput.
Cases last year 54
Detected offences 30
People arrested 52
Cases this year so far 61
Detected offences 14
People arrested 23
“Once a victim has fallen in the trap, the individual should not panic, immediately stop communicating with the perpetrator and report the matter to the police station. The victim should also preserve the evidence of blackmail and threats.”
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