Sextortion (or webcam blackmail) is where criminals persuade someone to perform sexual acts in front of their webcam. These images are then recorded by the criminals who threaten to share them with friends and family – unless they are paid.
Sextortion can include:
Criminals online pretending to be someone else, blackmailing you in exchange for money.
Current or former partners blackmailing you into sending money or more pictures & videos - or else they will share previously shared ones.
Somebody photoshopping your face onto naked images or videos of someone else; and threatening to send these.
If Any of These Happens To You, or Someone You Know...
Avoid any further communication with the criminals
Take screenshots of all your communication. No matter how embarrassing it may seem, keep a note of all details provided by the offenders. Especially if it includes details of bank accounts they want money sent to; or any contact information for them.
Don’t pay anyone anything - in some cases, those who do pay get more demands for higher amounts of money. In others, even if demands are met, the offenders still post the videos.
If you have already paid, check to see if the money has been collected. If it has, and if you are able to, make a note of where it was collected from. If it hasn’t, cancel the payment.
Do not send any more images or videos of yourself to the criminal - even if you know them.
Report the crime to the Police - you will not be judged.
If it’s happening now, call 999.
If it has already taken place, call the Police using 101.
In some circumstances
Use social media reporting tools to report the users to the platform you are using.
In some cases, this can lead to the videos & images being blocked from publishing. Some sites set up an alert in case the video resurfaces.
For extreme cases, deactivating social media accounts temporarily may be needed. Rather than shutting them down, deactivating will mean data is preserved and will help the police to collect evidence.
Most Importantly - Support Is Out There
Remember that you’re the victim of organised criminals – you’re not alone and confidential support is available. You can, and will, get through this.
It may feel like there is no way out, but there are support services available to help you recover from this.