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'Sextortion' is a form of blackmail. It involves threatening to publish sexual information, photos or videos about someone. This may be to extort money or to force the victim to do something against their will. Photos or recordings are often made without the victim realising or consenting.

Criminals often target people through dating apps, social media, webcams or pornography sites. They may use a fake identity to befriend you online and then threaten to send images to your family and friends.

Sextortion can be committed by individuals but organised crime gangs are usually behind it.

What to do if you've been targeted

  • Don’t panic, help and support is available.

  • Don’t pay.

  • Save the evidence: Take screenshots. Save messages and images. Collect URL links to where the information is being shared online.

  • Report it to social media companies if communication happened on these channels. For example, Facebook or Instagram.

  • Report it to your internet service provider.

  • Block all communication with the person targeting you.

Most social media sites have rules against sharing intimate content without consent. You should be able to get the material removed.

Report it

We understand that it might be difficult to report this type of crime to us. Our officers are here to listen and to support you in any way we can.

You can report intimate image abuse to us:

  • online

  • by calling 101

  • if you have a hearing or speech impairment, use our textphone service on 18001 101.

Useful links

The National Crime Agency (NCA)

Leading the UK's fight against serious and organised crime threats.

Get safe online

Factual and easy to understand information on online safety.

Child Exploitation and Online protection command (CEOP)

How to keep yourself or a child you know safe from child sexual exploitation.

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