AUSTRALIANS are being warned about "sextortion" scammers who pose as models and trick people into sending sexually explicit photos and videos, then use these as blackmail.

Eight people in Western Australia have reported being blackmailed since December by scammers who threatened to expose them on the internet or send the nude content to their family, friends and employers.

WA's ScamNet, a division of the Department of Consumer Protection, is investigating the issue and says so far, no-one has lost any money to the "sextortion".

One case involved a 36-year-old man who accepted a friend request on Facebook from a woman he thought he knew.

She demanded he pay her $5000, but after he refused to cough up the cash, they sent a video of him in a "compromising position" to his girlfriend, who they had easily found on his Facebook page.

In another case, a 21-year-old man sent a video to a woman he had just met online who then demanded $1000 and threatened to send it to his family and ex-girlfriend.

She then sent an email to his mother and uncle to show she was serious.

Consumer Protection commissioner David Hillyard said even if those targeted don't pay, they can experience immense emotional trauma.

In 2015, a teenager in Scotland took his own life after online scammers threatened to share intimate webcam images, he said.

"It's a very personal and highly embarrassing situation to be in and victims are made to believe their lives could be ruined if the intimate videos and photos are made public," Mr Hillyard said.

Mr Hillyard said it was important people who were being blackmailed did not send any money as the scammers would keep coming back for more.

WA ScamNet has issued the following advice for people contacted by a scammer:

• DO NOT SEND ANY MONEY! If you do, the scammers will come back for more.

Contact WA ScamNet at Consumer Protection on 1300 30 40 54 to seek help.

• If the video or photographs are uploaded/posted on sites such as Facebook or YouTube, report them immediately to the administrators by flagging them as inappropriate. They should be taken down quickly.

• Take note of Skype names or Facebook profiles as these will also need to be reported.

• Block the scammer and delete them from your friends' list on social media. Do the same if they have your email address or mobile phone number.

• Deactivate social media accounts for two weeks so the scammers will think you have deleted your accounts.

• If you meet someone online, avoid letting them have intimate photos or videos. Even if they are not a scammer, there are still risks.

Information and advice on scams is available on the WA ScamNet website or by calling 1300 30 40 54.



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