What is sextortion?
Sextortion is a form of blackmail where, usually, victims are lured into performing sexual acts in front of their web-cam, then unbeknown to them, their acts are recorded by criminals. These criminals then attempt to extort the victim, usually for money by threatening to reveal the intimate images unless their demands are met.
Victims are commonly targeted through dating apps, social media, webcams or adult pornography sites.
While sextortion can be committed by individuals, organised crime gangs are commonly behind it.
How is it committed?
Webcams are used for flirting and cybersex - but 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, often by using attractive women to entice you to participate. These webcam videos are recorded by the criminals who then threaten to share the images with your friends and family.
We know this can make you feel extremely ashamed and embarrassed and, tragically, here in the UK young men are taking their own lives after being targeted in this way.
What to do if you think you are a victim of sextortion?
Do not panic.
- Call us on 101 or Report it Online - We will take your report seriously.
- Report it to your Internet Service Provider
- We will not make judgements on your behaviour.
- We will deal with this in absolute confidence.
- If you’re under 18, report to CEOP
Do not communicate further.
- Take screen shots of all your communication.
- Suspend your Facebook account (but don’t delete it) and use the online reporting processes to report the matter to Skype, YouTube etc.
- Deactivating the Facebook 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.
Do not pay.
- 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.
DO NOT DELETE ANY CORRESPONDENCE.
What information should you try and save to give to us?
The Facebook 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.
Remember that you're the victim of organised criminals - you're not alone and confidential support is available. You can get through this.
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 and works to prevent young suicide in the UK.
- Samaritans to talk any time you like in your own way and off the record
- Get Safe Online