Information about sextortion and what to do if you're a victim.
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Sextortion is a type of cyber extortion. It involves the threat of having sexual information, images or clips shared.
This is done to get money from you. It doesn't always matter if the images actually exist or not.
The extortion often takes place when a victim is asked to take off their clothes in front of a webcam. They can also be asked to perform sexual acts.
The victim believes this to be a private act but it is not. The victim doesn't know that they are being recorded.
The offender will then threaten the victim. They may demand money. They may threaten to share the images or videos on social media or share publicly.
Here are some tips:
Be sensible when using the internet. Only activate your camera when you want to. Make sure it is 'off' at all times when not required. Never allow yourself to be duped into activity that you will later regret.
If using video chat apps, be alert to the fact that 'contacts' are not always who they say they are. If you allow a relationship to develop be guarded if unusual requests are made of you.
If you use online chat rooms looking for a person to chat with be careful. Be careful about any getting into a relationship and if you are asked to move to a different chat platform.
Some online chat rooms have a visual contact facility. If you are looking for a person to chat with and get into a relationship be guarded on what you say and do.
Relationships are quick to develop. End any that you are not comfortable with. Stay in control of what you do.
You may make mistakes, have doubts or need support or advice. If so, contact the police or a support agency immediately.
Remember, what goes on the internet stays on the internet, forever.
Here are a few points to follow if you are a victim.
Do not panic. The police will take your case seriously. They will deal with it in confidence. You will not be judged.
Do not pay. Some victims who have paid hear no more about it, others pay and are asked for more money. In some cases, even when money is paid the offenders posts the videos or images anyway
Do not talk any further to the offenders. Take screen shots of any communication. Keep it as evidence.
Make a note of all details provided by the offenders. For example; the Skype name (particularly the Skype ID), the Facebook URL; the Western Union or MoneyGram Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN); any photos/videos that were sent, etc.
Deactivate your social media account. Report the matter to the platform to have any video blocked. Set up an alert in case the video resurfaces. Deactivating the Facebook account rather than shutting it down will mean data is kept. This helps the police to gather evidence. The account can also be reactivated at any time. This means your online memories are not lost forever.
Report the matter to the police and your online service provider.
Be aware that the scammer's Skype name is different to their Skype ID. It's the ID details that police will need. To get that, right click on their profile, select ‘View Profile’.
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.
Parents looking for more advice on keeping children safe chatting online will find plenty of information. They'll find it from the National Crime Agency at the following websites:
PAPYRUS gives confidential advice and support. They work to stop young suicide in the UK,
Samaritans to talk any time you like in your own way and off the record.
Thinkuknow support for young people, teenagers, parents & carers.