Sextortion is a form of blackmail where, usually, victims are lured into performing sexual acts in front of their webcam. Unbeknown to the victim, their acts are recorded by criminals who then threaten to reveal the images unless their demands are met. For example, they might request money in order to stop them releasing the images.
Victims are commonly targeted through dating apps, social media, webcams or adult pornography sites.
How can you protect yourself?
Sometimes the people you meet online aren’t who they say they are.
Criminals might befriend you online by using a fake identity and then persuade you to perform sexual acts in front of a webcam. Sometimes they will use images or footage of attractive men or women to entice you to participate before recording the images and threatening to share them with your friends and family.
We know this can make you feel extremely ashamed and embarrassed but there are a number of ways you can get help.
What to do if you think you are a victim of sextortion?
Call us on 101 or report via our website - we will take your report seriously. We know these offences take place and we will do everything we can to support you.
Suspend your social media account (but don’t delete it) and use the online reporting processes to report the matter to Skype, YouTube etc.
Deactivating your social media account temporarily rather than shutting it down will mean the data is preserved and will help us collect evidence.
The account can also be reactivated at any time so your online memories are not lost forever.
Also, keep an eye on all the accounts which you might have linked in case the criminals try to contact you via one of these as well.
Many victims who pay continue to get further demands for higher amounts of money.
In some cases, even when demands are met the offenders will still post the explicit videos online.
If you have already paid, check to see if the money has been collected. If it has, and if you are able, make a note of where it was collected from. If it hasn't, then you can cancel the payment - and the sooner you do that the better.
Make a note of all details provided by the offenders.
Don’t delete any correspondence.
What information should you try and save to give to us?
The social media profile URL
The Western Union or MoneyGram Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN)
Any photos/videos that were sent or received
The Skype Name and Skype ID - A Skype name is different to their Skype ID, we need to know the ID . To get that, right click on their profile, select ‘View Profile’ and then look for the name shown in blue rather than the one above it in black. It'll be next to the word ’Skype’ and will have no spaces in it.
Further help and support
If this has happened to you and you're under 18 please talk to an adult that you trust. It may feel like there is no way out, but there are professionals who can help you. You can also get help from:
PAPYRUS provides confidential advice and support for those under the age of 35 in the UK – call 0800 068 4141
Samaritans to talk any time you like in your own way and off the record – Call 116 123