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RSN™ Guide: Doxing & Scammer Revenge
Exposing Your Personal Information For Revenge
As we have said before, most scammer threats are just more lies attempting to get victims to pay.
However, there are a couple of cases where they may engage in revenge if the victims confront and angers the scammer needlessly. The best strategy is always to go silent and block everywhere!
REMEMBER: DO NOT CONFRONT YOUR SCAMMERS
What Is DOXING?
Doxing (from dox, an abbreviation of documents) or doxing is the Internet-based practice of researching and broadcasting private or identifiable information (especially personally identifiable information) about an individual or organization.
The methods employed to acquire this information include searching publicly available databases and social media websites (like Facebook), hacking, and social engineering. It is closely related to Internet vigilantism and hacktivism.
Doxing may be carried out for various reasons, including to aid law enforcement, business analysis, risk analytics, extortion, coercion, inflict harm, harassment, online shaming, and vigilante justice.
Anyone can harvest information from the Internet about individuals. There is no particular structure in place for doxing, meaning someone may seek out any kind of information related to the target.
A basic Web search can yield results. Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, and Linkedin offer a wealth of private information because many users have high levels of self-disclosure (i.e. sharing their photos, place of employment, phone number, email address), but low levels of security. It is also possible to derive a person’s name and home address from a cell-phone number, through such services as reverse phone lookup. Social engineering has been used to extract information from government sources or phone companies.
In addition to these, a doxxer may use other methods to harvest information. These include information search by domain name and location searching based on an individual’s IP address.
Once people have been exposed through doxing, they may be targeted for harassment through methods such as harassment in person, fake signups for mail and pizza deliveries, or through swatting (dispatching armed police to their house through spoofed tips).
A hacker may obtain an individual’s dox without making the information public. A hacker may look for this information in order to extort or coerce a known or unknown target. Also, a hacker may harvest a victim’s information in order to break into their Internet accounts or to take over their social media accounts.
The victim may also be shown their details as proof that they have been doxed in order to intimidate or blackmail. The perpetrator may use this fear and intimidation to gain power over the victim in order to extort or coerce. Doxing is, therefore, a standard tactic of online harassment and has been used by people associated with 4chan and in the Gamergate and vaccine controversies.
The ethics of doxing by journalists, on matters that they assert are issues of public interest, is an area of much controversy. Many authors have argued that doxing in journalism blurs the line between revealing information in the interest of the public and releasing information about an individual’s private life against their wishes.
Is DOXING Illegal? Yes, ALWAYS!
Doxing is always illegal, whether it is done against a federal employee, a state employee, or a regular person. There are federal and state laws that specifically address doxing government employees. With regular citizens, doxing falls under various state criminal laws, such as stalking, cyberstalking, harassment, threats, and other such laws, depending on the state.
Our own employees have been harassed and dox’ed by other anti-scam haters. We followed the civil route and engaged in litigation, which we have won in all cases.
If you have been dox’ed you need to file complaints with the services involved, such as Facebook.
If we receive a report of a scammer and this proves to be a false report we will remove it. But if we reasonably believe the scammer report is valid, we typically decline to remove them. In either case, the information will have been reported to law enforcement and other authorities for them to determine if valid or not.