[aka, Digital Deception, Digital Disinformation, Internet Deception, Cyber Deception]
Online Deception [aka, Digital Deception, Internet Deception, Cyber Deception] is the use of Information and Communications Technology to deceive other online users usually rooted in malevolent, nefarious or covert online activities. Although primarily used for anti-social purposes, online deception tactics are occasionally designed for benevolent purposes, such as, when law enforcement design felonious profiles of children used to locate, identify and arrest online sexual predators. The art & science of online deception is used by all iPredator typologies including cyberbullies, cyberstalkers, cyber criminals, cyber terrorist, cyber harassers, internet trolls and online sexual predators.
“Unlike traditional human predators prior to the Information Age, iPredators rely on the multitude of benefits offered by Information and Communications Technology. These assistances include exchange of information over long distances, rapidity of information exchanged and the seemingly infinite access to the data available.” Michael Nuccitelli Psy.D., iPredator Inc. (2012)
Q&A Online Deception
I. Why are online user’s easily deceived? Having spent a great deal of time creating the darkside of human consciousness construct, iPredator, this writer spent many hours endeavoring to answer the question of why online users are so easily deceived online. In the most concise way to answer this quandary, one must first understand that humanity is enraptured by the novelty and awe of a new societal paradigm called the Information Age.
It is this point in time, in the evolution of human civilization, where information technology and the electronic universe of cyberspace has become part of the metaphorical fabric influencing many interpersonal relationships and aspects of daily life functioning. It cannot be denied that present day society is at the beginning of a new technological frontier that is paradoxically sensory magnificent and unchartered territory. Within these unknown aspects of the Information Age, temptation and curiosity act as accelerants driving online users to deceive their peers.
Cyberspace and the “veil of anonymity” it affords all online users is a temptation few can resist. The practice of deception has been part of the human experience since the beginning of civilization. The reason why it continues to this very day is because it is part of what it means to be fallible, and often times, insecure human beings. Whether one subscribes to evolutionary biology or a religious dogma, the practice of deception is innate to all humans. Not just in humans, but in most living organisms that must practice stealth and camouflage to survive, flourish and reproduce.
Many people are easily deceived online because they stubbornly want to believe what they see, hear and read online is real, attainable and without consequences. Despite the fact that information technology is still in its infancy within the evolution of human civilization, many people still forgo their innate instincts of skepticism and self-preservation. Instead, they replace these survival traits with what they believe is an opportunity waiting to be embraced. Unfortunately, in cyberspace, what appears to be an opportunity, often times, turns out to be “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”.
II. Does not having access to someone’s physical expression [i.e., body language, non-verbal communication, etc.] contribute to online deception gullibility? There is some merit supporting the argument that cyberspace, information technology and virtual reality hampers an online user’s ability to access and rely upon their physical, psychological and intuitive senses. Although this writer agrees cyberspace and online interpersonal dynamics, without physical evidence of intent, contributes to a reduction in accurately making conclusions about another person’s modus operandi, this writer does not believe it is a major cause. This writer does not believe having fewer sensory tools causes online users to become more susceptible to online user misinterpretations and increased gullibility to online deception.
III. What are some surprising ways an online user can be conned online? Having spent the last 5 years obsessed with learning about the Darkside of Cyberspace and how to stop online users from engaging in malevolent and nefarious activities, there is very little left in what this writer would categorize as surprising in the realm of conning online users. Prior to changing career paths to focusing on developing what this writer hopes one day becomes the field of Cybercriminal Psychology, this writer was a full time practicing psychologist and forensic evaluator. In both those realms, there were patient and forensic cases this writer found surprising. Not in the sense of surprising as being novel and creative, but surprising in how some would harm their loved ones, peers and community associates without merit.
It is the same now in my present career trajectory. What is most surprising living in the Information Age, are not the perpetrators, but the targets of their criminal, deceptive and deviant tactics. This writer is amazed by how few online users, parents, businesses and organizations take the time to learn basic cyber attack prevention measures. There is nothing surprising about the ever growing multitude of new malware, spyware, viruses, bots and hacking programs.
What is surprising, if not amazing, is that few people seem to take the time to learn simple strategies to insulate themselves, their loved ones and businesses from cyber attacks. One does not have to have a graduate degree in technology to learn how to reduce the chances of being conned online or victimized.
IV. How can an online user make sure they do not fall victim to online deception? This writer cannot emphasize enough, but refraining from disclosing personal information is the number one recommendation to prevent being conned online. For some, like celebrities, public figures and those in the community spotlight, they have a harder time restricting their personal information because they are consistently under the public’s proverbial microscope. Although this is a reality for anyone who has the attention of the masses, measures still can be implemented to significantly reduce the chances of being targeted.
For those not in the public spotlight, it is the same internet safety recommendation. The less personal information disseminated and exchanged online, the lower the probability is of being attacked or approached by online con-artists. Lastly, and equally as important to personal information restrictions is the acronym ODDOR. During the development of the iPredator construct, this writer was hit with an epiphany that can reduce an online user’s chances of being targeted. The concept being mentioned is ODDOR or Offline Distress Dictates Online Response. This writer strongly believes that a child and adult’s offline stressors directly impacts their online demeanor, choices and responses to other online users.
If an online user is experiencing heightened stress due to familial, relationship, financial or any other types of life stressors, they are much more likely to be conned, flattered and manipulated by those who are trolling cyberspace for vulnerable targets. If an online user makes it a habit to take 60 seconds each time, before going online to assess their level of ODDOR, they are far less likely to behave in ways that online con artists, cyberstalkers, trolls and cybercriminals look for when searching for their next target.
V. What is Cyberstealth? Cyberstealth is a concept formulated along with iPredator and is a term used to define a method and/or strategy by which iPredators use Information and Communications Technology (ICT) , if they so choose, to establish and sustain complete anonymity while they troll and stalk a target. Cyberstealth is a methodology entrenched in Information Age Deception or also called cyber deception. Given the internet inherently affords everyone anonymity, Cyberstealth, used by iPredators, range from negligible to highly complex and multi-faceted. The rationale for using “stealth” in the suffix of this term, serves to remind ICT users the primary intent fueling iPredators. This intent is to hide their identity by designing false online profiles, identities, covert tactics and methods to ensure their identities remain concealed reducing their probability of identification, apprehension and punishment.
Unlike classic deception, used by traditional criminals and deviants, online deception relies on the anonymity and “veil of invisibility” available to all ICT users. The primary difference between Information Age deception and Cyberstealth are the activities iPredators and ICT users engage in. In this writer’s construct, Cyberstealth is reserved for iPredators who actively plan a strategy that have criminal, deviant and harmful implications to targeted victims. Information Age deception includes all forms of Cyberstealth, but also includes deceptive practices that do not have elements of crime, defiance or harm against others.
Cyberstealth is a covert method by which iPredators are able to establish and sustain complete anonymity while they engage in ICT activities planning their next assault, investigating innovative surveillance technologies or researching the social profiles of their next target. When profiling or conducting an investigation of an iPredator, their level of Cyberstealth complexity, digital footprint, victim preferences, ICT skills and behavioral patterns are used to identify who they are.
VI. What is iPredator? iPredator: A person, group or nation who, directly or indirectly, engages in exploitation, victimization, coercion, stalking, theft or disparagement of others using Information and Communications Technology (ICT). iPredators are driven by deviant fantasies, desires for power and control, retribution, religious fanaticism, political reprisal, psychiatric illness, perceptual distortions, peer acceptance or personal and financial gain. iPredators can be any age or gender and are not bound by economic status, race, religion or national heritage.
iPredator is a global term used to distinguish anyone who engages in criminal, coercive, deviant or abusive behaviors using ICT. Central to the construct is the premise that Information Age criminals, deviants and the violently disturbed are psychopathological classifications new to humanity. Whether the offender is a cyberbully, cyberstalker, cyber harasser, cybercriminal, online sexual predator, cyber terrorist or engaged in internet defamation or nefarious cyber deception, they fall within the scope of iPredator. The three criteria used to define an iPredator include:
I. A self-awareness of causing harm to others, directly or indirectly, using ICT.
II. The usage of ICT to obtain, tamper with, exchange and deliver harmful information.
III. A general understanding of Cyberstealth used to engage in criminal or deviant activities or to profile, identify, locate, stalk and engage a target.
Unlike human predators prior to the Information Age, iPredators rely on the multitude of benefits offered by Information and Communications Technology (ICT). These assistances include exchange of information over long distances, rapidity of information exchanged and the seemingly infinite access to data available. Malevolent in intent, iPredators rely on their capacity to deceive others using ICT in the abstract and artificial electronic universe known as cyberspace. Therefore, as the internet naturally offers all ICT users anonymity, if they decide, iPredators actively design online profiles and diversionary tactics to remain undetected and untraceable.
Cyberstealth, a sub-tenet of iPredator, is a covert method by which iPredators attempt to establish and sustain complete anonymity while they engage in ICT activities planning their next assault, investigating innovative surveillance technologies or researching the social profiles of their next target.
Concurrent with the concept of Cyberstealth is iPredator Victim Intuition (IVI). An iPredator’s IVI is their aptitude to sense a target’s ODDOR (Offline Distress Dictates Online Response), online & offline vulnerabilities, psychological weaknesses and technological limitations increasing their success of a cyber-attack with minimal ramifications.
VII. What is iPredator Bridge? iPredator Bridge is a theoretical tenet of iPredator representing the psychological, perceptual & behavioral trajectory of people who use Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to harm others motivate by self-righteousness, moral turpitude, religious, political, philosophical convictions and pro-social perceptual distortions. Not driven by criminal, malevolent or deviant endeavors, iPredator Bridge seeks to define why some people approach the nefarious and malevolent realm of iPredator, decide to proceed, and then continue along a trajectory where their cognitive, affective, behavioral and perceptual actions harm others or societies.
Similar to the iPredator, they are motivated by personal convictions, greed, power, control, narcissismor psychopathology. Different from the iPredator, they have yet to fully engage in criminal/deviant activities using ICT or use complex perceptual distortions to validate the harm they cause. iPredator Bridge investigates why some people draw near to this nefarious and malevolent realm and either proceed in their maladaptive trajectory or cease and desist.
Hidden in cyberspace, and through ICT, they contemplate the benefits and detriments, proceed, and then continue a path where their cognitive and perceptual processes are focused upon directly or indirectly harming others. For those who cross this proverbial bridge, they enter a world where their choices are increasingly governed by criminal, deviant, immoral and maladaptive processes.
Although it is assumed all humanity, has residing deep in their psyche, the potential & Dark Psychology for behaving in harmful and malevolent ways they rarely or never activate, ICT and cyberspace offers a direct connection and psychological route to the dark side. Just as ICT and cyberspace is incredibly pro-social and beneficial to humanity, these same technological advancements can lead humanity to diabolical and sinister endeavors.
iPredator Bridge is a symbolic representation of the approach, route and initial crossing into the realm of the iPredator. In a rudimentary and abstract way, it is posited that cyberspace, ICT and all future technological advancements, related to information technology, is an extension of the mind and the instinctual drives of the collective brain to replicate itself outside a human organism. Related to this postulate are the theoretical tenets of Carl Jung (1875-1961) and his construct of the Collective Unconscious.
“Malevolent in intent, iPredators rely on their capacity to deceive others using Information and Communications Technology in the artificial abstract electronic universe known as cyberspace.” Michael Nuccitelli Psy.D., iPredator Inc. (2012)
VIII. What is Darkside of Cyberspace & Dark Psychology? “Darkside of Cyberspace is a metaphor and conceptual framework defining a virtual environmental realm that includes all criminal, deviant, deceptive, harmful and malevolent activities in the abstract universe of cyberspace. Whereas iPredator is a criminal, deviant and disturbed typology construct, Darkside of Cyberspace also includes legal and illegal online activities, as well as, destructive and self-destructive online behaviors.” Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D., iPredator Inc. 
Dark Psychology is the study of the human condition as it relates to the psychological nature of people to prey upon other people motivated by criminal and/or deviant drives that lack purpose and general assumptions of instinctual drives and social sciences theory. All of humanity has the potentiality to victimize humans and other living creatures. While many restrain or sublimate this tendency, some act upon these impulses.
Dark Psychology seeks to understand those thoughts, feelings, perceptions and subjective processing systems that lead to predatory behavior that is antithetical to contemporary understandings of human behavior. Dark Psychology assumes that criminal, deviant and abusive behaviors are purposive and have some rational, goal-oriented motivation 99% of the time. It is the remaining 1%, Dark Psychology parts from Adlerian theory and the Teleological Approach. Dark Psychology postulates there is a region within the human psyche that enables some people to commit atrocious acts without purpose. In this theory, it has been coined the Dark Singularity.
Dark Psychology posits that all humans have a reservoir of malevolent intent towards others ranging from minimally obtrusive and fleeting thoughts to pure psychopathic deviant behaviors without any cohesive rationality. This is called the Dark Continuum. Mitigating factors acting as accelerators and/or attractants to approaching the Dark Singularity, and where a person’s heinous actions fall on the Dark Continuum, is what Dark Psychology calls Dark Factor.
Dark Psychology encompasses all that makes us who we are in relationship to our dark side. All cultures, all faiths and all humanity have this proverbial cancer. From the moment we are born to the time of death, there is a side hidden within us that some have called evil and others have defined as criminal, deviant or psychopathic. Dark Psychology introduces a third philosophical construct that views these behaviors different from religious dogmas and contemporary social science theories.
Dark Psychology assumes there are people who commit these same acts and do so not for power, money, sex, retribution or any other known purpose. They commit horrid acts without a goal. Simplified, their ends do not justify their means. There are people who violate and injure others for the sake of doing so. Within in all of us is this potential. A potential to harm others without cause, explanation, or purpose is the area explored. Dark Psychology assumes this dark potential is incredibly complex and even more difficult to define.
McAfee 2013 Digital Deception Study Link
Connection vs. Disconnection
“The Information Age technocentric concept of being “connected” is actually a paradox of disconnection causing us to lose our instinctual drives for social cohesion, allegiance and selflessness. As our dependency upon Information and Communications Technology [ICT] grows metastasizing throughout our collective human consciousness, the less we care for our neighbors and the more we delude ourselves into thinking that online connections are far more valuable than realty based relationships.” Michael Nuccitelli Psy.D. , iPredator Inc. 
Internet Safety Products & Services Pages
- Internet Safety Checklists & Inventories
- iPredator Inc. Professional Services
- iPredator Protected Membership
- Social Media Safety Assessment [IFSA]
- Telephonic Internet Addiction Screening [TIAS]
- iPredator Education Services
Relevant iPredator Site Pages
- iPredator Information Age Forensics Website
- Dr. Internet Safety Blog
- Dark Psychology Blog
- Information Age Forensics Construct, iPredator
- Dark Psychology Construct
- iPredator Bridge [iPredator Sub-Construct]
- 5PV Model [5 Factorial Template of Assailant/Victim]
- Internet Safety Dynamics
- this writerAm iPredator: An Information Age Parable
Online Deception Warning Signs Checklist PDF Link
Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D.
Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D. is a New York State licensed psychologist and certified forensic consultant. He completed his doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology in 1994 from Adler University in Chicago, Illinois. In November 2011, Dr. Nuccitelli and his colleagues established iPredator Inc. offering educational, investigation and advisory services related to cyberstalking, cyberbullying, internet predators, cybercrime & the darkside of cyberspace. In June 2013, Dr. Nuccitelli and iPredator Inc. launched this internet safety website, iPredator, and two blogs, Dark Psychology & Dr. Internet Safety. These sites offer online users an incredible amount of information, education and advisory services. Since 1985, Dr. Nuccitelli has worked in behavioral healthcare in a variety of capacities with various clinical populations.
iPredator Inc. is a New York State based Internet Safety Company founded in September 2011 to provide educational and advisory products & services to online users and organizations. Their areas of expertise include cyberbullying, cyberstalking, cybercrime, internet defamation, cyber terrorism, online predation, internet addiction and the new fields they are pioneering called Cybercriminal Psychology & Profiling. Created by a NYS licensed psychologist and certified forensic consultant, Michael Nuccitelli Psy.D., their goal is to reduce victimization, theft and disparagement from online assailants.
Dr. Nuccitelli and iPredator Inc. consultants are always available, at no cost, to interact with online users and media. In addition to their professional services, Dr. Nuccitelli has authored a variety of internet safety tools, cyber attack risk assessments and diagnostic tests available to purchase as hard copy PDF files.
Although iPredator Inc. has joined a multitude of social networking sites, feel free to visit the social sites listed below they use as their information and announcement vehicles. Dr. Nuccitelli and iPredator Inc. consultants are always available, at no cost, to interact with academia, law enforcement, legal professionals and the media. If you have questions, feel free to call iPredator Inc. anytime at (347) 871-2416 in New York or by sending correspondence using this website’s contact page by clicking on this link: Contact Us Dr. Nuccitelli or an iPredator Inc. associate return all contacts within 24 hours.
- Google Plus: iPredator
- Google Plus: Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D.
- Linked In: iPredator
- Twitter: TheiPredator
- YouTube: iPredator Team
- Facebook: The iPredator
- Pinterest: iPredator Inc.
“The Information Age technocentric concept of being “connected” is a paradox of disconnection causing us to lose control of our instinctual drives for social cohesion, allegiance and selflessness. As our dependency upon Information and Communications Technology (ICT) grows, spreading throughout our collective human consciousness, the less we care for our neighbors and the more we delude ourselves into thinking that online connections are far more valuable than reality based relationships.” Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D. (2014)
- IPREDATOR INC.
- CEO: Michael Nuccitelli, Psy.D.
- NYS Licensed Psychologist
- New York, USA
- Ph:(347) 871-2416
- Blog I:Dark Psychology
- Blog II: Internet Safety
Online Deception Pinterest Board
Online Deception: Online Deception (Cyberstealth) is a term used to define a method or strategy by which iPredators use Information and Communications Technology (ICT) , if they so choose, to establish and sustain anonymity while they troll and stalk a human target. Online Deception (Cyberstealth) is a methodology entrenched in Information Age Deception. Given the Internet inherently affords everyone anonymity, Cyberstealth used by iPredators range from negligible to highly complex and multi-faceted. Pinterest Board: https://www.pinterest.com/ipredator/online-deception-cyberstealth/