Sextortion is a crime in which someone threatens to distribute nude or sexual images or video footage of their victim unless their demands are met. This crime is a type of blackmail. Sextortion is short for sexual extortion.
Sextortionists can work alone or in teams. They may contact their victims by friending or messaging them on social media, dating or gaming apps, or websites. They may also contact them directly via email. They may create a fake profile using images of an attractive person to catfish their victims and pretend they’re interested in finding a relationship or hookup. They may also flirt with their victims to gain their trust, affection or interest. Once they have established a connection, they may ask their victim to send nudes or videos of themselves masturbating. They may also ask their victims to stream explicit video of themselves. They record or download this content to blackmail their victim.
Sextortionists may also use malware to hack into their victim’s devices and gain access to their systems. They may download explicit files or control their victim’s microphone or web camera to access private, intimate content.