Sextortion Scams

Webcam blackmail has evolved into modern sextortion scams – a type of blackmail when someone threatens to share a nude image or sexually explicit video of you online – unless you pay them or provide more sexual content.

Visit our new dedicated Sextortion microsite for young people and trusted adults by clicking here: https://netsafe.org.nz/sextortion/

And if you want to see how sextortion happens, and escalates so quickly, for our young people, watch this video from our friends at NCMEC (National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children): https://noescaperoom.org/

Sextortion Scams

Webcam or video blackmail – commonly known as sextortion – is a way to blackmail people online. The impact of sextortion can range from mild embarrassment and a sense of humiliation to extreme emotional harm. This a serious global issue and blackmailers can be located anywhere around the world. They may be individuals working alone, but there are also highly organised criminal groups profiting from sextortion. If you have been targeted, you can report a scam by completing an online report form or by emailing [email protected]

How do webcam blackmail/sextortion scams work

Scammers create fake accounts and start chatting with people online. The scammer will encourage people to share nude or nearly nude images and/or videos. Once shared, the scammer will say they have saved the content and threaten to post this online or send this to the person’s contacts if they don’t pay a money or send more content.

The scammer is often doing this professionally and will be using lots of social media accounts and doing this to lots of different people all at the same time. They will focus on the people they believe will most likely pay them or send more content. The scammer will ‘drop’ others very quickly who block the scammer and refuse to contact them, so it is very important that all contact from them is blocked immediately.

What to do if private content has been shared or the scammer is messaging your contacts 

Report the account/content

Report it to the social media site.

Most social media sites have rules that don’t allow nudity and will remove this content. The platform will be able to see any messages you have had with this person.  For example, you can report a scammers account on Facebook by following Facebook’s instructions here. (Select the options Nudity > Sharing Private Images). Meta also have some dedicated advice on stopping sextortion on their safety pages here.

Netsafe’s helpline team can guide you on how to report scammers on many other channels if you struggle to find their instructions. We can also help you to request to have any shared content taken down.

Ask trusted friends or family to report it as well and keep an eye on social media in case anything else is shared.

As messages could contain your nudes, it’s important that you do not:

  • Save screenshots where your images can be seen  
  • Send your intimate images to Netsafe or any other party 

Report to Netsafe

If you have lost money or personal information in an attempted sextortion scam or you think you are about to, contact us by emailing [email protected] or by completing an online report form.

We can offer support, including letting you know any steps you may be able to take if you’ve been caught up in a scam, and advice on how to stay safe in future.

Our helpline is open from 8am – 8pm weekdays and 9am – 5pm on weekends.

What to do if webcam scammer is making demands

DO NOT PAY

  • Do not pay this person and/or share more nudes. The webcam blackmail scammer will continue to make demands for more money or content and they are often more likely to end up posting the content
  • Report any content and the user to the social media site

Protecting your privacy

We know that you care about what we do with your information and who we talk to about you. Our staff are trained to keep your information safe and if we need to talk to someone else about you, like if we need help to fix your problem or think that you might be unsafe, we will usually tell you first. We will share only the information we really need to help you. 

Further support 

We understand these types of things can be upsetting. We encourage you to talk to someone you trust or reach out for further support.

Contact Youthline on free text 234 or

call 0800 376 633 or Lifeline on free text HELP (4357) or

call 0800 LIFELINE (0800 54 33 54) to talk to a confidential counsellor

Once we have this information, we’ll do our best to get back to you soon.

Report a webcam blackmail scam

If you have lost money or personal information in an attempted sextortion scam or think you are about to, contact us by emailing [email protected] or by completing an online report form.

We can offer support, including letting you know any steps you may be able to take if you’ve been caught up in a scam, and advice on how to stay safe in future.

Our helpline is open from 8am – 8pm weekdays and 9am – 5pm on weekends.
    

More scams

Be alert and stay safe online. Keep up to date on the latest scams so you can protect yourself and your loved ones from falling victim.

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