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Police warn of increase in sextortion scams

Derbyshire Constabulary have recently seen a notable rise in reports from the public regarding threatening emails demanding a ransom be paid to prevent sensitive images or footage being circulated to contacts.

This type of scam is known as sextortion - a type of phishing attack whereby people are coerced to pay a BitCoin ransom because they have been threatened with sharing a video of themselves visiting adult websites.

The email states that malware has been installed which takes control of your device’s camera and footage of the user watching porn has been captured. The threat element occurs when the scammer threatens to send the footage to everyone in your contacts, including family, friends and colleagues if a ransom is not met.

These scams are made to appear convincing because they provide seemingly plausible technical details about how this was achieved, and the ‘phish’ can often include the individual’s password and/or address or telephone number.

In actual fact, that information will have been obtained through a data breach.

What to do if you receive one of these emails?

The advice is not to engage, and to report it by forwarding the email to

Don’ worry if the email includes your password; in all likelihood this has been obtained from historic breaches of personal data.

You can check if your details have been compromised and get future notifications by visiting: Police advise selecting “Notify Me” so that if your email address is affected in future, Have I Been Pwned will inform you so that you can change the password on any affected platforms.

If the sextortion email includes a password you still use, change it immediately. Password advice can be found via our blog 'How random!', and in-depth guidance on two-factor authentication can be read on the NCSC website: Setting up two-factor authentication (2FA)

You can also visit Cyber Aware for more advice:

Always report incidents to Action Fraud at

If you have made the Bitcoin payment, you should report it to your local police force by calling 101.

If you need emotional support this is available from charities such as Victim Support by calling 0808 168 9111 or visiting:


Further support

TecSec, a trusted partner of the centre, have put together an in-depth look at sextortion, which you can read via the attached PDF below.

The 'Sextortion' scam.
Download PDF • 928KB

They have also created a video on phishing. In the video, they explain how you can 'test' your staff to see if they may require any security awareness training, which we can offer too.

Take a look at the video and contact them via their website if you wish to sign up for their phishing simulation.



Report all Fraud and Cybercrime to Action Fraud by calling 0300 123 2040 or online. Forward suspicious emails to Report SMS scams by forwarding the original message to 7726 (spells SPAM on the keypad).



The contents of blog posts on this website are provided for general information only and are not intended to replace specific professional advice relevant to your situation. The intention of East Midlands Cyber Resilience Centre (EMCRC) is to encourage cyber resilience by raising issues and disseminating information on the experiences and initiatives of others. Articles on the website cannot by their nature be comprehensive and may not reflect most recent legislation, practice, or application to your circumstances. EMCRC provides affordable services and Trusted Partners if you need specific support. For specific questions please contact us by email.


EMCRC does not accept any responsibility for any loss which may arise from reliance on information or materials published on this blog. EMCRC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites that link to this site or which are linked from it.

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