Staying Safe Online

Pacific youth, parents and communities are being warned to be aware of the rise in cases of ‘sextortion’ being reported in Aotearoa. Between 2020 and 2022, New Zealand Police received more than 600 reports of sextortion, with more than half of the victims being males under the age of 25, with the youngest being two 10-year-olds.

Sextortion is online blackmail that happens when someone befriends you online and persuades you to send them sexual images or videos. 

They then threaten to share them with others unless you agree to send them money or more pictures/videos. 

One of the issues with Pacific people being targeted is that a 2020 Government study found that one in five Pacific people in NZ aged between 16 and 65, do not have basic computer skills - twice the rate of the non-Pacific population - leaving them more susceptible to a sextortion scam. 

The report highlighted the fact that more Pacific people are needed in the technology area - as, while Pacific and Maori make up 25 per cent of the population, only two per cent work in technology. 

Detective Sergeant Dan Wright said the perpetrators of the crime are likely to be based overseas, and he fears the 618 reported cases may just be the tip of the iceberg. 

“We know the offending is far greater than what has been reported to us and we anticipate there are many victims who haven’t yet come forward,” he said. 

The Netsafe charity, which supports people to have safe and positive online experiences say, in most cases, the blackmailers/scammers create false accounts and start chatting online, usually to many people at once, before honing in on those they see as potential targets. 

It said if your private content has been shared, or if you are being threatened with sextortion you should immediately report it to your social media site, or contact Netsafe, particularly if you have lost money or personal information in the scam. 

If you have been caught up in a scam Netsafe said you should never send more pictures or money. 


  • Meeting on one app, then being encouraged to continue a conversation on a different platform could be an indicator. 
  • Inconsistencies with a profile or language, and there might be signs that English is a second language. 
  • Introduction of sexualised conversations. 
  • The other person may say that their webcam or microphone is not working for video calls/chats to avoid giving their true identity. 


  • Avoid sending any more images or videos – even if they are threatening you. 
  • Remember – once you have complied with their demands there is nothing preventing them targeting you again. 
  • Save all the online chat, immediately take screenshots. This is important for making a report to the Police, we need all the evidence that you can gather. 
  • Block the profile. 
  • Report the content to the platform it is on (e.g. Facebook, Snapchat, PornHub) and request the content is removed. 
  • Make a report to Police (via 105) or Netsafe to find out what other options are available to you.


  • Supervision is essential. This means knowing what your children are doing online, who they are interacting with and what platforms, apps or games they are using. 
  • Having open conversations, often. The most important tip we can give any parent or carer is to start talking to your child about their online activities. 
  • Check privacy settings. We recommend parents and carers research and understand app settings, including privacy settings. This could include turning off location settings, setting profiles to private, or turning off chat functions. 
  • Be approachable if your child needs help. Coming forward isn’t always easy, and children may feel reluctant to tell you about online issues if they believe they will be punished or have their devices taken away. They must know that it is okay to speak to you or any other trusted adult if something doesn’t feel right. 
  • Long term impact. Offenders will often use tactics such as fear or shame to manipulate young people, and make them feel alienated or trapped, like they cannot escape the situation. These situations can be very distressing and can have long term-impacts, and need to be addressed appropriately. Your child is a victim of online child sexual exploitation, and they need your support. 
  • Report suspicious behaviour. Seek help and support, and report inappropriate or suspicious behaviour online. 



105  (non-Emergency)  111 (Emergency) 


Text ‘Netsafe’ to 4282 


Call toll free on 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723) 

Online report form at

Netsafe helpline is open from 8am – 8pm Monday to Friday and 9am – 5pm on weekends.

Reference Information 
Summary of Digital inclusion user insights – Pacific peoples report

Netsafe – Information on Sextortion Scams