How to avoid falling victim to sextortion

Sextortion scams are on the rise in New Zealand, but there are measures you can take to stop them from ruining your life.

Netsafe said in a statement on Wednesday sextortion was the newest reported scam they were seeing.

The scams centre around blackmail, with victims being told the scammer has an intimate video of them and will publish it if they do not get money.

Scammers will also pose as a new friend and convince the victim to take their clothes off on camera or will email the victim to say they've hacked their webcam.

Some scammers will even send emails with a recent password to try and prove their legitimacy.

Security measures can lower your chances of falling victim to sextortion, such as keeping your webcam covered, using an antivirus and avoiding clicking suspicious links.

It's best to be careful what you do on a webcam, as website Digital Spy reports there are multiple instances of the tiny cameras being compromised.

Netsafe CEO Martin Cocker advises anyone who does get caught in a scam to get in touch and report it.

"We might not be able to recover money previously lost, [but] we'll... be able to help you stem any potential future losses or impact on your life," he told The AM Show.

Netsafe advises anyone who is being sextorted should avoid responding or making any payments to the scammer.

"Paying the initial ransom demand often leads to more threats and requests for more money. We are aware of sextortion videos being published before and after money has been paid," the Netsafe website says.

Victims should also immediately change their passwords for any online account that may have been breached and mark any suspicious emails, including the scammer's one as spam.

If the victim has connected with any of the blackmailers on social media they should immediately unfriend and block the scammer, then deactivate their account.

If the content is posted online the victim should immediately report it to the platform that it's on and to Netsafe.

Anyone who has fallen victim to a sextortion scam should seek support from friends, family or staff at Netsafe.

If they are feeling particularly upset by the situation there are a number of helplines they can call free.

Where to find help and support: