Your online romance could be a scam

The popular use of online communications has given rise to online sexual predators who come up with creative ways to take advantage of unsuspecting men, women and teens. These predators use various methods to seduce or pressure a victim to perform sexual favors, and often threaten the victim with embarrassment if they don’t do it. 

 

Online sexual blackmail is sometimes called Sextortion, or Romance Scam. Victims are usually lured through social media sites, and the blackmailers are often part of criminal gangs from foreign countries. 

 

How does online sexual blackmail work? 

2 common methods are used by blackmailers: 

  • Predators befriend people on social media and gaming sites, gain their trust and entice them to send revealing or naked photos of themselves. By threatening to post these photos online, the predator can extort more and more illicit images. Some victims are fooled into taking part in explicit video chats via Skype. A recording of the explicit video is then used to extort money from the victim, with the blackmailer threatening that it will be posted online. 
  • Another technique involves using malware to hijack a victim’s webcam. The predator is able switch it on and off, taking revealing photos or videos without the victim’s knowledge, which can then be used to extort money from the victim. 

 

Does this happen in Brunei? 
There have been multiple sextortion incidents where a sexual act is caught on camera and the victim is then threatened with the public release of the sexual images unless they make a payment to the extortionist. 

 

Further reading: 

http://borneobulletin.com.bn/man-found-guilty-in-sextortion-cases/ 

https://btarchive.org/news/national/2016/02/02/man-gets-two-year-jailin-first-sextortion-case 

 

Protect yourself from falling victim 

  • Don’t spend too much time on social networks. It could change your behaviour and lead you to do or say things that you wouldn’t normally do in the real world. 
  • Avoid having online video conversations with strangers. You never know if it’s being recorded. 
  • Avoid keeping any nude or compromising pictures on your computer. Once you’re connected to the Internet, there’s a risk that hackers can access your files and use them for extortion. 
  • Cover your webcam when not in use, or point it at a blank wall.