Detectives warn against online Sextortion

Date published: 21 March 2018 10:45
Dated: 21 March 2018 10:41:11

Detectives are warning internet users to be on their guard against webcam blackmail after a recent spate of offences was reported across South Yorkshire.

Four crimes have been recorded in recent weeks in Rotherham and Sheffield, where social media users were encouraged to undress and perform sexually explicit acts. Once they had done so, offenders proceeded to blackmail the victims with a threat to publish the recordings they had made.

DC Greg Dakin said: “These are very serious cases and have caused a great deal of upset to the victims. None of the victims paid the money demanded, which in some cases was as high as £1,000, but they have been left traumatised by the experience and we believe there are many more victims who choose not to report incidents to police.”

Sextortion is the common term used to describe the cyber-enabled crime where victims are lured into performing sexual acts in front of a web-camera. Unknown to the victims, their acts are recorded by criminals who then use the footage in an attempt to extort money from them or demand more explicit images.

Criminals often threaten to upload recordings to the internet or send them to the victims’ friends and family via social media. Facebook and WhatsApp were used to target the victims of the latest offences.

DC Dakin said: “Typically there are two types of demand made of the victim, either for further indecent photographs of the victim to be forwarded, or a demand for money, which was the case in three of these four reported incidents.”

“Consider very carefully about who you befriend online, especially if you are considering sharing anything intimate with them. Even if do you know them, could you share something with them that they could use against you in the future.

"Once you start using your webcam or send pictures over the internet, you will never have control over what happens with those videos or pictures. They may exist forever on the internet.”

If you think you are a victim;

• Don’t panic. Contact the police on 101 and your service provider.
• We will take your case seriously, not judge you, and deal with your case in confidence.
• Do not continue to communicate with the criminal.
• If possible take photos of what is on the screen or screenshot the detail. Companies like Facebook and YouTube have online reporting systems. Google them and report the crime. Think about any other accounts or details you may have given the criminal.
• Do not pay demands. While you might be tempted to, you have no guarantee they won’t ask for more. You also have no control over whether the video is circulated.
• If you can, preserve as much evidence as possible.

For further help and guidance online, visit: (prevention of young person suicide) (CEOP)

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