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Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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What Should You Do If Some Tries to Blackmail You

 

As it becomes incredibly easier to share each aspect of our lives via social media platforms, the likelihood of personal data getting in the wrong hands is also high. You only have to take a glance at apps like Snapchat and Whatsapp to see how easy it is to share information. But, the minute an individual starts threatening you in a bid to get his or her demands met, this is the very definition of blackmail.

Although many take blackmail lightly, it is a serious crime punishable by law. Besides, it can result in grave financial and social problems as well as psychological trauma. If you have been threatened or are scared that you’re at a risk of being blackmailed, here are a few steps you should take.

 

Evaluate the grounds

Blackmailers use every opportunity they get to get a hold of sensitive information. But at times, the grounds they use to ask for demands are not as serious as they claim. It’s likely that the blackmailer just eavesdropped into a conversation and misinterpreted what he or she heard. So before giving into any demands, assess the situation by yourself. When doing this evaluation, you will need to be candid and introspective. Assess how damaging the data being withheld is, and whether or not it poses an actual threat. A few aspects you should take into account are:

  • Is your job or career at risk? If the information were to get out, would it cost you your job?
  • Will the information endanger another individual? While the release of this data may not harm you, it may have a direct impact on your family members, friends or colleagues.
  • What is the worst case scenario that could emerge? Real blackmail causes more than financial or social damage. In some cases, it could cause irreparable physical harm.

 

Talk to a close friend

When you encounter an issue, your own anxiety could cause you to exaggerate the problem at hand. During such situations, it wouldn’t hurt to get a second opinion from a trusted friend or family member. In fact, this friend does not have to be related to you. You can even approach a religious leader or therapist.

Getting this second opinion helps to bring perspective to your problem. Even if your ally does not offer any help, you will feel much better knowing that you’re not facing this on your own.

 

Reach out to law enforcement

If you realize that the information poses too big a threat if it’s brought to light, your next course of action should be to contact the police. A law enforcement officer can train you on how to get leverage against the blackmailer. Apart from police, you should also consider hiring a blackmail and extortion defense attorney.

Police will protect you from potential harm. On the other hand, a lawyer will help to build a case. The attorney may request that you extend the negotiation with the perpetrator. This increases your chances of getting written or recorded evidence, which will then help you build a case.

 

Wrap Up

Blackmail entails using threats to coerce individuals into doing things against their will. These threats can be in different forms including physical violence, exposure to personal data or mistreatment. If you are being blackmailed, you need to evaluate the grounds of the blackmail, talk to a friend and contact law enforcement

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