There are many corrupt practices that exist within the social, political, and economic arenas. Such practices exist in order to influence another for social, political, or economic gain. One of the many practices that exist involves forcing an individual to do something or refrain from doing something upon the behest of another. Blackmail is a form of coercion that involves forcing an individual to do something or refrain form doing something by threatening to reveal information that may harm or damage the person.
Blackmail is a serious criminal offense that entails the withholding of sensitive information in exchange for money or some other form of compensation. In order for blackmail to work, the person holding the sensitive information shows proof of it to the person being blackmailed. Due to the sensitive information held by the individual or blackmailer, he or she may also be accused of civil defamation or extortion if found guilty. Blackmail may even be considered as extortion in written form.
Victims of blackmail are often targeted due to the sensitive, personal information that may damage his or her reputation or credibility. Information regarding extramarital affairs, previous indictments or criminal charges, or actual criminal offenses may be used as blackmail against an involved individual. Commercial blackmail also exists when the victim is a business. The purpose of blackmail may vary according to the intention or motivation of the blackmailer. Some may claim to have purely altruistic intentions while others can only justify blackmail according to their own personal interests.