Tayside Police issue warning of online “sextortion” scams

Posted: 21st April 2021

We are continuing to receive many reports of social media users falling victim to “sextortion” scams. These usually involve the victim being enticed to send nude or explicit photos or videos to someone who has befriended them online, then being blackmailed into sending money or gift cards to prevent them being distributed to family members or other people they know.
The scam is most usually aimed at men between the ages of 18 and 44, but we have had reports of both male and female victims aged from teens to 60s.
Inspector Alice Coventry from Tayside Division’s Preventions, Interventions and Partnerships hub said:
“We are continuing to experience a rise in this type of online crime. With these types of incidents, you will never be communicating with the same person that you may be seeing as a profile picture, or as they have described themselves to you initially. They pose as someone different in order to attract your attention. Their goal is to win your trust, convince you they are genuine, and persuade you to send compromising images of yourself to them. The overall objective is to extort money from you by threatening to post these compromising images of you online to friends and family through social media platforms.
“Please take a few minutes and seriously consider who you think you are talking to during these exchanges, which frequently arise from random friend requests through the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Tik Tok, Snapchat and several dating sites.
“Once you send images or videos to another person, they are out there forever with no chance of ever fully recovering them. If you find yourself being blackmailed or extorted in this way, contact us on 101 or 999 in an emergency. You will be given support and your complaint will be taken in utmost confidence.”
Source: Tayside Police Facebook, April 2021
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