Tayside residents have been warned not to fall for online “sextortion” scams after victims reported being blackmailed over nude photographs.
The scams, which often target men between the ages of 18 and 44, involve the victim sending nude pictures or videos over the internet to an account they believe to be genuine.
Scammers behind the account will then use the images to blackmail the victim into sending money by threatening to distribute them to family and friends.
While the scam often targets young men, it is not uncommon for women and people into their 60s to be singled out.
Police in Tayside raised the issue earlier this year but say reports of the scam are on the rise.
Online sex scams ‘on the increase’
Sergeant Andy Sheppard, of Tayside Division preventions, interventions and partnerships, said: “Unfortunately this type of online crime continues to be on the increase.
“The perpetrator’s goal is to win your trust, convince you they are genuine, and persuade you to send compromising images or video of yourself to them.
“Their overall objective is to extort money from you, which they do by threatening to post these compromising images of you online to friends and family through social media platforms, or to post them to names on your email contacts list.”
Facebook, Instagram and dating sites
The police sergeant advised users of social media sites, dating apps and chatrooms take extra caution.
He said: “I would appeal to everyone who uses online chat and meeting rooms to take a few minutes and seriously consider who you think you are talking to during these exchanges.
“They can also frequently arise from random friend requests through the likes of Facebook, Instagram and several dating sites.
“Once you send images, where they go is completely outwith your control and 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.”