What is sextortion?
Sextortion, also known as webcam blackmail, is when intimate images and videos are recorded and used for financial exploitation and coercion. The perpetrator relies on the person to feel ashamed and give in to their demands. If you would like more information on what Sextortion is or what to do if you have been affected, you can access our advice page here.
We are reaching out to all adults living in the UK, who have been affected by Sextortion to take part in our survey and help us understand more about this crime. We want to learn more about which platforms are targeted and the techniques used to obtain sexual content and extort money in this way. This campaign aims to raise awareness about Sextortion and prevent more people from being affected by this violating crime in the future.
If you have been affected by Sextortion, our advice is to stop, block, report, and don't pay the blackmailers any money. Reporting to the platform where this happened is really important to prevent them from contacting other people using that profile.
What reports do I need to make?
- Report the fake profile/user that was used to 'catfish' you into befriending the blackmailer, most social media and dating sites do not allow fake profiles or users.
- Report the profile/user on the platform where the threats have been made, this isn't always the same place where you met them. Threatening to share someone's intimate content is usually in violation of platforms' community standards.
How do I make a report?
You can find out more information and the reporting routes to the most common social media platforms on our website page.
Unfortunately, the people perpetrating these crimes are becoming increasingly sophisticated, and this can make it difficult to spot accounts that may not be who they claim. Because of this, it is important to make sure that we are all staying safe online. Here is a list of trusted UK services, offering advice on the best ways to stay safe online.
thecyberhelpline.com - Provides free, expert advice for victims of cybercrime and online harm
actionfraud.police.uk - The UK’s national reporting centre for fraud and cybercrime
nationalcrimeagency.gov.uk - Free Sextortion information and advice
To ensure that social media platforms provide a safe environment for users, each platform has created its own set of Community Guidelines. These guidelines are, in effect, a set of rules that promote both a safe and acceptable standard of behaviour across social media sites. They tend to cover advice on what is prohibited on their platform and behaviours that can lead to accounts being suspended or permanently deleted.
You can find here further information on the Community Guidelines across various social media platforms here.
Find further articles about Sextortion and our downloadable resources.
We know how distressing and emotionally draining sextortion can feel, and really understand the damaging impact this can have on your mental health.
We always recommend you reach out and confide in a trusted friend or family member where you feel able to. There is also a wide range of services that are here to support and listen to you. Please remember that you have done nothing wrong and that you are not alone in your experiences.
Our recommended support services
CALM - Campaign Against Living Miserably - The CALM Helpline is a male-specific mental health support service. The Helpline is open between 5 pm and midnight, 365 days a year. You can get in touch by phone or web chat. Call 0800 58 58 58.
SHOUT Crisis Messenger - Feeling anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, or in need of support? Shout 85258 is the UK's first free, confidential, 24/7 text support service. It's anonymous and won't appear on your bill.
The Mix - Essential support for 16 to 25-year-olds offering advice and support by phone, webchat, or email.
Samaritans - A 24/7 listening service available for anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide. Call on 116 123.
For further emotional support recommendations, please have a look at our emotional support page.
Similarly to sextortion, romance scams are perpetrated by those wanting financial gain. However, unlike the fast-paced nature of sextortion, contact often extends over a long period of time, with the perpetrators intending to gain trust before exploiting their victims for money. This is often done through lies and manipulation leaving victims feeling betrayed. We really understand the damaging impacts that these scams can have, please find further advice on what to do, if you have been affected by a romance scam.
We understand that it can be difficult if a friend or family member discloses that they have been affected by sextortion, you could feel shocked, worried or at a loss for what to do next. Regardless of how you are feeling, it is important your confidant feels supported. Here are some top tips on how you can support a loved one if they have been affected by sextortion.
We are reaching out to all adults living in the UK, who have been affected by Sextortion, to take part in our survey and help us understand more about this crime.
It does not matter when the crime took place, we want to hear from you. The questions are about the types of platforms used, the support that is available, and how to support others in the future. All comments will remain confidential and any demographic information will be anonymised. You can find access to this survey here.
We are aiming to get people talking, to share their experiences, and educate others about staying safe online.
Downloadable sextortion awareness resource
Spread awareness about sextortion with our 2 sided A4 downloadable resource. This outlines what is sextortion is, how it happens and our vital advice for those affected by the online crime.
Just ride it out and seek help from your friends and the authorities. Talking to people helps and there’s a lot of great resources out there.