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Significant increase in extortions in Germany

According to police crime statistics, the number of blackmail cases recorded by the police in Germany has increased significantly. While there were 7,434 cases in 2017, there were 10,759 in 2018, an increase of over 40%. Hardly any other criminal offence has risen so exceedingly.

What could be the reason for such an enormous increase?

In contrast to many other criminal offences, the blackmailer usually remains anonymous until the ransom is handed over, if a handover even takes place in the classical sense. They can withdraw from the crime at any time without any problems. This factor is reinforced by technical developments that are increasingly used by criminals.

"Technical developments have made the crime of extortion easier," says crisis manager Pascal Michel of SmartRiskSolutions. "No matter whether it's classic extortion, product extortion or cyber extortion - ransom demands with crypto currencies mean that the perpetrator has a very low risk of being caught. In the past, the main risk for the perpetrator was the handover of the ransom. If they demand crypto currency, there is no longer a high-risk physical ransom transfer."

In addition it becomes easier to accomplish an exortion. Also laypersons can acquire with little effort e.g. by means of “Ransomware as a service” the know-how and/or the aids. "In addition, a potential perpetrator can more easily obtain content such as private pictures with which the victim can be blackmailed via Internet, whether it is public information or illegally hacked data," says Pascal Michel.

Another cause could be the phenomenon of mass e-mail blackmailing, in which the perpetrator sends the same e-mail with extortive content to a large number of victims. The content of such e-mails often goes in this direction: "We have webcam footage of you while visiting porn sites, etc... if you don't pay X, we will publish the video".

No matter for what reason and by what method the extortion is carried out, it is important that the crisis management is installed preventively and works well in case of damage. The crisis management team should meet immediately in order to keep the initial "chaos" as small as possible and to have the crisis under control at an early stage. After all, you should have the crisis under control and not the crisis you!

Sources: PKS Federal Criminal Police Office 2018, Version 1.0; SmartRiskSolutions
Bild: extortion von Trending Topics 2019 (CC BY 2.0)


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