Sextortion, also known as ‘webcam blackmail’, is a form of blackmail. It involves threatening to publish sexual information, photos or videos about someone. This may be to gain money or to force the someone to do something against their will. Photos or recordings are often made without the person’s awareness or consent.
Sextortion usually involves meeting someone via social media or dating websites and forming a relationship through conversation. The blackmailer appears to be a stereotypically attractive man or woman who, after gaining someone’s trust, will quickly persuade them into sending intimate images or videos or will record sexual content without consent. The images and videos will then be used to blackmail them for money or further sexual content.
Sextortion can be committed by individuals but organised criminal gangs overseas are usually behind it.
The following is advice from police about what to do if you've been targeted:
- Don’t panic, help and support is available.
- Don’t pay.
- Save the evidence: Take screenshots. Save messages and images. Collect URL links to where the information is being shared online.
- Report it to social media companies if communication happened on these channels. For example, Facebook or Instagram.
- Report it to your internet service provider.
- Block all communication with the person targeting you.
- Most social media sites have rules against sharing intimate content without consent. You should be able to get the material removed.