How to Respond to Blackmail

If you interact with enough people, speak offensive truths, or stand up to the powerful, it’s inevitable you’ll eventually be blackmailed. Extortion and doxxing are related techniques you may encounter as well.

If your first thought on reading those words is to say to yourself, “You can’t be blackmailed if you haven’t done anything wrong”, well, you’re delusional.

For one, we’ve all done something wrong, it’s simply a question of there existing the right kind of evidence to be employed against you at a certain time and under just the right circumstances. Your crime or sin could be very minor, but if you were to state under oath that you had never committed a crime, and then a blackmailer reminded you that at age 16 you exceeded the speed limit, or you lied in a phone call you made to a girlfriend and mailed across state lines, or you wore an American flag as a piece of clothing to a political rally, or you trespassed while protesting outside an abortion clinic, well, you have not just empowered the blackmailer, but you may have perjured yourself and be subject to additional criminal penalties.

Secondly, it doesn’t really matter whether you are guilty, because the blackmailer perceives that you fear the allegation, and not just the truth of it. Since most people are inclined to believe the worst of others, especially someone they already dislike, the revelation of negative information is almost certainly to be damaging, even if much later it is … Read the rest