Many people use webcams for flirting and cybersex - but sometimes people you meet online aren't who they say they are.
Sextortion is webcam extortion - demands are made for money from you when you engage with unknown people (potential offenders) who use chat applications, the internet and a webcam.
The extortion takes place when the unknown person (offender) persuades you (the victim) to remove their clothes in front of their webcam and/or perform sexual acts.
You believe this to be a private act - but it is not. The offender, unbeknown to you (the victim) is recording everything that you do.
Very soon afterwards the offender will threaten you. They may demand money or publicise the video via YouTube or your Facebook contacts.
What can YOU do to reduce the likelihood of it happening?
- Be sensible when using the internet - it is in your hands. 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 Skype 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 about any relationship that you form and in particular if you are asked to transfer to Skype
- Some online chat rooms have a visual contact facility so if you are looking for a person to chat with and allow a relationship to form - 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
- If you make a mistake, you have doubts or you need support or advice - contact the Police or a support agency immediately
REMEMBER - what goes on the internet stays on the internet - forever.
What to do if you're a victim of sextortion
- Do NOT panic. You have already taken the first big step by recognising you are the 'victim' in this and that you may require support to help you through this difficult time. The Police will take your case seriously, will deal with it in confidence, and you will not be judged
- Do NOT pay. Although some victims who have paid what the offenders have demanded and hear no more about it, many others who have paid have then continued to receive further and often increasing demands. In some cases even when the demands have been met the offenders will still go on to post the videos or images anyway
- Do NOT communicate further with the offenders. Obtain screen shots of any communication
- Deactivate your Facebook account and use the online reporting process to report the matter to Skype, YouTube etc. to have any video blocked and to set up an alert in case the video resurfaces. Deactivating the Facebook account rather than shutting it down will ensure data is preserved and will assist law enforcement in obtaining evidence. The account can also be reactivated at any time ensuring online memories are not lost forever
- Report the matter to Police and your online service provider. If the blackmail is occurring through a social network, also alert the administrator