Police in Staffordshire are warning people of a cyber-blackmail scam currently targeting random people, which threatens to post intimate photos or video footage online if money isn’t paid.
Over the past few days police have seen a rise in so called ‘sextortion’ cases being reported and are asking people to report any blackmail attempts to them.
Sextortion (a combination of sex and extortion) is blackmailing a victim not to post sexually explicit photos or videos on social networking, photo-sharing or revenge porn websites.
People have reported receiving emails from fraudsters threatening to post or share videos on social networking and demanding payment.
Detective Chief Inspector Dan Ison from Force CID, said: “Over the past week we have seen a rise in the number of cyber-blackmail offences reported to us, but I’m quite sure there a lot of people who have received an email and haven’t told us and I would urge them to come forward and report it.
“This is a very distressing crime, which preys on people’s vulnerabilities and worries about any consequences. The welfare of victims is paramount and I want to reassure people that this is highly likely to be a scam, you have nothing to fear.
“Do not be too embarrassed to report it and do not attempt to respond to any threat or pay any money. Grab a screen shot of communication and please report it to us online and trust that we will then investigate.”
DCI Ison added: “Enquiries are going into these emails and we are working closely with partners such as the National Crime Agency and National Police Chiefs’ Council to crack down on offenders.”