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The crime involving a threat for purposes of compelling a person to do an act against his or her will, or for purposes of taking the person's money or property.

The term blackmail originally denoted a payment made by English persons residing along the border of Scotland to influential Scottish chieftains in exchange for protection from thieves and marauders.

In blackmail the threat might consist of physical injury to the threatened person or to someone loved by that person, or injury to a person's reputation. In some cases the victim is told that an illegal act he or she had previously committed will be exposed if the victim fails to comply with the demand.

Although blackmail is generally synonymous with Extortion, some states distinguish the offenses by requiring that the former be in writing.

Blackmail is punishable by a fine, imprisonment, or both.




n. the crime of threatening to reveal embarrassing, disgraceful or damaging facts (or rumors) about a person to the public, family, spouse or associates unless paid off to not carry out the threat. It is one form of extortion (which may include other threats such as physical harm or damage to property). (See: extortion)


noun exaction, extortion, hush money, illegal compulsion, oppressive exaction, protection, ransom, shakedown, taking by undue exercise of power
See also: coercion, compel, extort, extortion, graft, hush money, threaten


in English law, a person is guilty of blackmail if, with a view to gain for himself or another or with intent to cause loss to another, he makes any unwarranted demand with menaces and for this purpose menaces are unwarranted unless the person making it does so in the belief that he had reasonable grounds for making the demand and that the use of menaces is a proper means of reinforcing the demand. For Scotland, see EXTORTION.
References in periodicals archive ?
It states that the blackmailers had already been paid once and were seeking more money.
She went to police, who tracked down and arrested the blackmailer and two accomplices.
A BBC investigation has claimed Daniel received a message from his blackmailers reading: "I will make you suffer.
Typically online blackmailers - often members of foreign criminal networks - use bogus identities to befriend British teens on internet chatrooms or social networking sites such as Facebook.
The situation had even prevented her from getting married because she was afraid the blackmailer would contact her husband, said Al-Shulail.
Police have urged people not to fall prey to such blackmailers and report them to the police on the toll free number 800 151.
As two swamis went to pay the money according to the plan, policemen in civil clothes nabbed three of the five blackmailers.
This makes it all the more likely that they won't come forward to report such crimes, and makes them even more vulnerable to the blackmailers.
THREE blackmailers have been jailed for taking the life savings of a 90-year-old who gave evidence from beyond the grave.
He said that the lacunas of the controversial Qanun-e-Shahadat are resulting as denial justice and being used by blackmailers against the innocent and law abiding people of Pakistan, especially the weaker segments of the society including women.
It is thought the alleged blackmailers sought pounds 50,000, but a police sting ensured evidence was seized and men arrested.
It is believed the alleged blackmailers demanded pounds 50,000, but a police sting ensured the evidence was seized and the men were arrested with no money changing hands.