"Sextortion" scams have been hitting New Zealand email accounts in waves over the last few months, writes Federated Farmers rural security spokesperson Miles Anderson.

"You're my victim" read the subject headline.

Intrigued and looking for ways to make life more interesting one of our policy advisors, who received the threat via email, allowed her colleagues to read the email from someone purporting to be from China.

The "China" based scammer claimed to have uploaded a "malicious programme" on the advisor's computer system and now had images of her in a compromising position.

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While the advisor was able to laugh off the claims, (it's not as though rural New Zealand is known well for its internet connectivity capability), it is apparent by how many people are victims of internet based crime every year, that not everyone is lucky enough to escape online criminals.

Federated Farmers rural security spokesperson Miles Anderson. Photo / Supplied
Federated Farmers rural security spokesperson Miles Anderson. Photo / Supplied

The threat to expose someone with images of them is a plot line from a popular online series called Black Mirror and the scam sits in a category called 'sextortion', covered as recently as Saturday by mainstream media.

Read more from Federated Farmers here.

The online safety organisation Netsafe says sextortion scams, like the one the Feds policy advisor experienced, have been hitting New Zealand email accounts in waves over the last few months.

Netsafe has been receiving reports from the public about an email scam where the scammer falsely claims to have hacked into their device and recorded intimate recordings of people using porn websites.

The NetSafe advisory states the scammer demands the target send a payment (often as bitcoin) to the scammer, or they will send the recording to the victim's personal contacts which they claim to have access to.

If you have been targeted by a scam, then report it, no matter what the threats or promises are in the email.

Even if you have done something that you think might have been caught by your webcam get help from the authorities.

Extortion and blackmail are awful crimes.

If the claim sounds too good to be true, or sounds like it could have come from a dystopian web series, chances are you are dealing with a scammer.