Sextortion is a form of blackmail where a perpetrator threatens to reveal intimate images of you online unless you give in to their demands. These demands are typically for money, further intimate images, or sexual favours.
Perpetrators commonly target their victims through dating apps, social media, webcams or adult pornography sites.
While sextortion can be committed by individuals, organised crime is commonly behind it.
- Something doesn’t add up—their online profile isn’t consistent with what you see and hear when you engage with them.
- It’s happening too fast—they express strong emotions for you almost straight away, and quickly tempt you across to a more private channel, suggesting you get naked or sexual in a video call.
- They make excuses—they say their webcam isn’t working and instead send a nude photo which they claim is of them.
- They say they need help—they say they need money for some sort of personal emergency like medical treatment or to cover the rent, or even to travel to Australia.
Sextortion can be devastating for victims. We advise victims, or those being threatened with sextortion, to take the following steps:
- Try to stay calm
- Don’t give the perpetrator any money or additional images, and stop all contact with them
- Change your passwords for all social media and online accounts, and review your privacy and security settings
- Get support from your IT Support company / friend.
Sextortion can be devastating for victims but here are some tips to help deal with it:
- Remind yourself it’s not your fault. Remember, anyone can be a victim of sextortion, you are not alone and you haven’t done anything wrong.
- Don’t panic. Reach out instead—get support from a trusted friend or family member as well
- Don’t pay. Don’t give them any money or send any more pictures of yourself. Giving in to demands will actually make things worse.
- Stop all contact with the perpetrator. Block them and ask your friends to do the same. Consider temporarily deactivating your social media accounts (but don’t delete them as you may lose evidence that way).
- Secure your accounts. Change the passwords for your social media and online accounts, and review the privacy and security settings of your accounts.