A LEEDS man was blackmailed out of hundreds of pounds after being coaxed into stripping on his webcam.
The man, in his 20s, was contacted in an online chatroom by a woman who claimed to be Californian but said she was holidaying in the Philippines.
Police said the pair then made contact on Skype and started to “engage in conversation of a sexual nature”.
The woman asked the victim if he wanted to see her naked but insisted he got undressed first.
Moments later she uploaded a video of the man naked and said it would be posted on YouTube unless he paid $200 dollars into an online account in the Philippines.
She then posted a list of his Facebook friends, including his mother, sister, uncles and cousins and said the image would be sent to each of
them if he did not make an immediate payment.
Over the following two days the victim was blackmailed out of a total of £240, but then refused to hand over any more cash and contacted police.
Det Sgt Michael Casey, from North West Leeds CID, said: “The ever increasing popularity of social networking sites has given rise to this type of blackmail scam.
“The victim in this case reported the incident but did not want to make a formal complaint.
“Due to the sensitive nature of the scam I believe a large number of similar offences will have taken place across the world with a
significant proportion never being reported to law enforcement organisations.
“A simple internet search demonstrates this is a widespread problem with organised crime groups often behind this type of high-tech extortion.
“Criminals involved in this area of crime know that many of victims will not report the matter and even when they do it’s notoriously
difficult for law enforcement organisations to detect and trace those involved.
“The simple message to avoid this type of scam is not to allow yourself to be put in a vulnerable position.
“I would also remind people to check their privacy settings on social networking sites like Facebook.
“The victim in the recent West Yorkshire investigation believed only his ‘friends’ could see all the information on his profile page. This
was not the case and made him a target for those looking to exploit people online.”