Sextortion emails and sextortion.

Sextortion emails

Sextortion refers to the broad category of sexual exploitation in which abuse of power is the means of coercion, as well as to the category of sexual exploitation in which threatened release of sexual images or information is the means of coercion.

These are just a different form of Phishing email. They contain just enough personal information (like your username and password, harvested from a data breach) to convince you they’re real. This is such a taboo subject area that some people may not immediately know that it is a phishing email and may be reluctant to ask anyone for advice.

These types of emails usually come from a spoofed domain (possibly to make it look as if it is coming from someone you trust). The grammar and spelling may be poor and as with most phishing emails there will be a sense of urgency. They will usually be asking for money to be sent to them.

As with any Phishing email that you receive you can contact the Information Centre if you have any questions and you can also report spam to us in a new way .


Many people use webcams for business, gaming or to enhance their online chat experience but sometimes people you meet online aren’t always who they say they are.

Sextortion is a type of cyber-enabled extortion which involves the threat of sharing sexual information, images or clips to extort money from you, whether images actually exist or not.

The extortion often takes place when the unknown person (offender) persuades you (the victim) to remove your clothes in front of your 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 and threaten to share the images or videos with your friends on social media, or share publicly.

What can YOU do to reduce the likelihood of it happening?

  • 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 about any relationship that you form and in particular if you are asked to transfer to a different chat platform.
  • 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, preserve 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. Be aware that the scammer’s Skype name is different to their Skype ID, and it’s the ID details that police will need. To get that, right click on their profile, select ‘View Profile’ and 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.
  • Deactivate your social media account and use the online reporting process to report the matter to the platform 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 the Police and your online service provider. If the blackmail is occurring through a social network, also alert the administrator.

Remember that you’re the victim of organised criminals – you’re not alone and confidential support is available. You can get through this.

This information about sextortion has been taken from the Police Scotland Website. They also provide links to other places that you can get help or advice.