How to avoid isolation blackmail

During this time of isolation when we may be feeling vulnerable, it is important that we continue to question unsolicited communication that could potentially be from a scammer.


The Australia Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) has recently warned of a ‘sextortion’ campaign that is in circulation. There have been over 1,900 reports of this campaign since 9th April, but as of yet, there have not been any reported financial losses in relation to this form of fraud.


What is this scam?

The ‘sextortion’ campaign is a form of blackmail where a cybercriminal threatens via email to release intimate images of the victim to their personal contacts - unless a ransom is paid through cash or cryptocurrency. In most circumstances, the scammer hasn’t got access to any incriminating images.


Staying safe online

If you receive an email from a potential scammer, there is no reason to be concerned. They are sent out to a vast database of people, in the hope of scaring the receiver into paying a ransom.

The ACSC recommends you report any threatening emails that are intent on blackmailing you to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner.

It is recommended you immediately change your online passwords, including for social media, if you receive an email of this nature. It is also worth reviewing your privacy and security settings on social media and other platforms you may use.

If you are concerned about your physical safety, call Triple Zero (000) or contact your local police.


Supporting loved ones

In this period of COVID-19, the physical health of seniors and retirees is at risk. However, their financial health could also be a vulnerability to potential scammers.

With many seniors and retirees being more socially isolated, it is recommended that relatives keep in close contact with them to make sure they’re handling their finances appropriately and haven’t fallen victim to scammers.

The ways that fraudsters scam customers out of their money is continuously evolving. Summerland recommends you sign up to Stay Smart Online’s free Alert Service, to keep up-to-date with online threats and how they can be managed.



As part of Summerland’s commitment to fraud prevention and detection, our team may call, email or SMS you to confirm a transaction. However, remember that Summerland will NEVER:

  • Ask you to disclose your personal banking details, your PIN, your card number or any other information on your card in an unsolicited email, SMS or telephone call; or
  • Ask you to click on a link in an email which then asks you to log in to your account and verify your details.

If you suspect you are a victim of a fraud, contact us immediately on 1300 802 222 so we can help to protect you.


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