What is Cyber Blackmailing in India and How to Avoid it?

Submitted by asandil on 6/5/2020

In a form of coercion known as blackmail, a person or group of individuals are threatened with the disclosure or spread of information about them that is either basically true or false unless particular requirements are met. The dangerous information is typically kept secret from the public and only shared with intimate friends or family members. Along with legal proceedings, it could entail threatening the victim or a close family member with bodily injury, mental agony, or emotional suffering.

It is usually done for one’s own gain, most often in the form of authority, wealth, or other tangible things. It seems hard to live in the modern world without the Internet. None of our daily activities, including checking our messages, updating social media, reading the news, purchasing supplies, or even just using WhatsApp, would be possible without the internet. Due to frequent information transfers and multiple exchanges, there is a significant danger that sensitive information will be exposed. Web-based media is arguably the most well-known platform where online scams happen as a result of the misuse of a person’s personal data. Internet media goliaths have been building a solid foundation for themselves. Internet media coercion has targeted a large number of people. People who are impacted by cybercrime have multiplied dramatically.

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Dealing with webcam blackmail (sextortion)

Sextortion, often known as webcam blackmail, involves criminals using false identities to befriend victims online before coercing them into having sex in front of their webcam or another device camera. The thieves record these webcam calls and threaten to post the recordings online if they are not paid. Professional criminal gangs prey on both men and women, regardless of age. They frequently go for wealthy individuals who stand to lose a lot if the footage is circulated.

Keep in mind that you are definitely a victim of organized crime; confidential support is available, and you are not alone. You can overcome this.

It can just be a scam email if you receive one informing you that someone has recorded a video of you using your webcam.

As per Section 503 of the Indian Penal Code, blackmailing is defined as a type of criminal intimidation. It is defined as “Whoever threatens another with any injury to his person, reputation, or property, or to the person or reputation of anyone in whom that person is interested, with the intent to cause alarm to that person, or to omit to do any act which that person is legally entitled to do, as a means of avoiding doing any act which that person is legally entitled to do, as the means of ignoring the Criminal intimidation carries a sentence that may include a fine, a jail term of up to two years, either form of jail time, or a combination of the two.

According to Section 384, extortion is punishable by any sort of imprisonment, up to three years, a fine, or both. This provision states that any magistrate may try the case without the use of bail and that the maximum punishment is three years.

According to Section 108(1)(i)(a) of the Criminal Procedure Code, the victim has the right to get in touch with the magistrate in her area and let him or her know about the individual she suspects of disseminating any pornographic content. The magistrate has the authority to detain such individuals and require them to sign a bail that forbids them from disclosing the information. This could demoralize the accused. This is a quick redress section since the victim does not have to present any direct evidence against the offender in order to lodge a complaint with the magistrate.

Anyone who posts or threatens to post any intimate or compromising images of another person on any electronic platform, including apps and other social media, is punished under Section 292 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

With the aid of other pertinent sections from the Information Technology Act, a voyeurism case under Section 354C of the IPC may also be created in the event that an offensive photo of a woman is taken and distributed without her consent.

Additional laws cover sexual abuse: The Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005, was passed to give victims of domestic violence remedies; The Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, which protects a woman from sexual harassment at the workplace; Sections 354 (A to D) of the Indian Penal Code, which establishes penalties for various sexual offenses; Section 376(2), which discusses rape as a result of the abuse of authority in certain circumstances; The Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 has been revised to provide the victim the ability to get in touch with the magistrate and make a complaint regarding the distribution of obscene content; The Information Technology Act of 2000 also covers some sexual offenses related to cybercrime. The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, is intended to address the issue of sexual exploitation of children.

Without that person’s permission, photos of them may not be taken or shared, according to Section 66E of the IT Act of 2000, which deals with violations of privacy.

Sharing images or videos that defame someone is prohibited per Section 67 of the IT Act of 2000.

If the victim is a juvenile under the age of 18, child pornography is prohibited by Section 67B of the IT Act of 2000.

Using concealed cameras to record and exchange video clips is a criminal offense, according to Section 67A of the IT Act of 2000, which deals with electronic content involving sexually explicit activities.

How to deal with blackmail

The first thing to remember is that you should never try to solve problems on your own. If you decide to follow through on your threats, you will almost definitely be detained, which will allow the blackmailer to carry out their threat. Similar to the last example, simply complying with the demands may occasionally lead to further demands or even the blackmailer enacting the coercive threat out of spite after you have complied.

The police’s job is to find and punish criminals. Make a call to them first. They have a responsibility to uphold the law because extortion and blackmail are illegal. There are times when the danger is not as imminent as it might appear to you.

You must follow police orders, no matter how irrational they may sound. They can make you submit to yet another round of extortion at the hands of your tormentor in order to acquire enough proof to prosecute you. They could also suggest that you resist the extortionist or take other steps to get them to go. Any advice given should be followed. The police are knowledgeable experts who know how to handle these circumstances and what evidence will be needed to ensure that your blackmailer can never again take advantage of you or anyone else.

Of course, the best course of action is always to contact your attorney for help with these complex legal issues. As previously mentioned, an attorney can help you get perspective while protecting your privacy. In addition, as mentioned, an attorney can help you navigate the right procedure for receiving assistance with your problem. Alternatives that you would not have thought of on your own may be suggested by an attorney.

How to file a complaint about a cybercrime?

Since there is no specific jurisdiction for cybercrimes, complaints may be made anywhere. To file a complaint about a suspect, one can go to one of three locations in any city, according to the ARDC (Attorney Registration and Disciplinary Commission):

Cyber cells: They have been created expressly to assist victims of cybercrime. The criminal investigation division of the police department has jurisdiction over them. If there isn’t a cyber cell near you, you can register an F.I.R. at a nearby police station. If you are unable to submit an F.I.R., you may contact the police commissioner. A police station must receive and record an F.I.R.

National Commission for Women: a nonprofit group that supports victims of online abuse in their interactions with legal enforcement. The Commission has the power to constitute an inquiry committee with the ability to conduct spot checks, acquire information, speak with witnesses, and call the accused in order to expedite the investigation.

Reporting on social media websites: If one of the two aforementioned choices is challenging for whatever reason, reporting on social media websites is a possibility. Since they are compelled by the IT legislation of 2011 to act within 36 hours of receiving the information to prevent the dissemination of undesirable materials, the majority of these websites offer the option of reporting the crime.

How do I avoid a webcam blackmail scam in the future?

If anything seems too good to be true, trust your gut. Most likely it is. Put the conversation to an abrupt halt and seek assistance if you sense that something is off and you are being asked to do things that make you uncomfortable.

A webcam, digital camera, or smartphone should not be used in situations where you aren’t wearing clothes or engaging in sexual activity. You lose control over that information the moment it is posted online or obtained by a third party.

Be extremely cautious about accepting friend requests from strangers and extremely leery about direct communications from strangers when using social media or dating websites. On dating websites, use a separate email address, and make sure it doesn’t reveal any personal information like your entire name.

Consider your online privacy and security - Be careful not to disclose too much personal information online, such as your home address and phone number. Review and delete anything that could be used against you from your social media profiles. Make sure your internet accounts are protected by robust security.