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Online blackmail or extortion (sextortion)

This section contains further advice if you are the victim of online blackmail (particularly related to personal / sexual matters).

Online Blackmail

What to do now?

  • Record Evidence Make a note of all of the details provided by the offenders, for example; the Skype name (particularly the Skype ID), the Facebook URL; any financial details such as the Western Union or MoneyGram Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN); any photos/videos that were sent, etc. Do not delete or forward on any correspondence, including to the police.
     
  • Don't Communicate further with the criminals. Take screen shots of all your communication. Suspend your Facebook account (but don't delete it) 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 temporarily rather than shutting it down will mean the data is preserved and will help police to collect evidence. The account can also be reactivated at any time so your online memories are not lost forever. Also, keep an eye on all the accounts which you might have linked in case the criminals try to contact you via one of those.
     
  • Don't pay. Many victims who have paid have continued to get more demands for higher amounts of money. In some cases, even when the demands have been met the offenders will still go on to post the explicit videos. If you have already paid, check to see if the money has been collected. If it has, and if you are able, then make a note of where it was collected from. If it hasn't, then you can cancel the payment - and the sooner you do that the better.

Report

These incidents should be reported to West Mercia Police.

In an emergency (click here to see examples) please call 999 or the alternative emergency number 112; for the deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired call 18000 to use Next Generation Text Service (replaces TextRelay); or use emergencySMS. Otherwise please call 101 (the national police non-emergency number), or .

What happens next?

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 will not make judgements on your behaviour.

Due to the volume and nature of cybercrime, contact from our staff may happen some time after the event, so please include as much detail as possible in your initial report to assist any investigation, keeping a copy for your records as reference for any follow up contact.

The police may also make a referral to Victim Support for you, here is more Victim and witness information.

What else can I do?

Contact the relevant website(s) or social media platforms to get any posted images removed.

UK Safer Internet Centre logo
UK Safer Internet Centre logo
One particular organisation that can help is the UK Safer Internet Centre - they have an incredibly speedy record of getting images removed.

 

 

 

 

What parents need to know about 'sextortion'

As with all forms of sexual abuse, it's important parents and carers know the risks and how to protect their child online.

The National Crime Agency Child Exploitation and Online Protection command (NCA-CEOP) has published advice and guidance on how offenders may demand money using indecent images as online blackmail, how you can talk to your child about the risks, and where to go for further information and support.

For more information, visit Parent Info