What is sexual extortion?

Sexual extortion (also known as sextortion) is a form of online blackmail where someone tricks or coerces you into sending nude or sexual images of yourself. Once you’ve sent the images, the person you’ve been talking to threatens to share them publicly or with people you know, unless you comply with their demands. More often than not, the demand is for payment, but you could also be told to get money from others and send it onwards – known as money muling

Sexual extortion is a type of threat and penalty scam, using fear and embarrassment to manipulate people.

What should I look for?

Anyone can be a target, so look out for these red flags when communicating with someone new:

  • You receive a random friend request or message from a stranger
  • You’re quickly asked to switch apps to continue the conversation
  • The messages might be written in broken English, have typos or an unusual use of common phrases. Their profile details might not add up with what you see
  • You start receiving sexual images and are pressured into sending some back, with promises that they’ll delete any images you send
  • The person you’re chatting to makes excuses. They might claim that their webcam or microphone is broken, so they can’t call or video chat with you, and send pictures instead

What should I do if I’m being blackmailed?

If you find yourself in a situation where you think you might be a victim of sexual extortion, remember that it’s not your fault, and there are people available to help.

Follow these steps:

1. Stop the conversation and all contact with the offender. Instead, collect as much evidence as you can, such as:

  • Screenshots of the chat
  • Any URLs or links, usernames or social media handles 
  • Account number(s) and/or PayID identifiers that you're asked to send money to
  • Any profile information, such as profile name, picture, phone number, email

2.  Check in with someone you trust for support.

Report it to the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) if you’re under 18, or the Australian eSafety Commisioner if you’re over 18. Depending on the platform used, you may also be able to report the activity to the platform itself. 

3. Reject. Once you’ve collected your evidence, hang up on the caller, block the account/contact and report it on the platform if possible. Don’t send any more images and don’t respond to any demands.

If you’ve sent funds to the offender, contact us through the CommBank app or call 13 2221 8am – 8pm (Syd/Melb time).

Find out more about the different types of scams and how to spot them.