Beware of online blackmailers

Computer Icon 160x120Police have issued an urgent warning about the dangers of sharing explicit videos and photographs after number of students in the UK and around the world have been targeted by online blackmailers.

The students were approached through Facebook and encouraged to expose themselves via Skype. When they did, they were secretly filmed and then threatened that the films would be released on YouTube if they didn’t pay their blackmailer by bank transfer.

This scam is happening all over the world and because of the nature of the crime victims are very nervous to come forward.

Make sure you don’t become a victim. You should always be careful online, but to be extra safe you should:

  • Carefully consider who you are sharing videos and photographs with.
  • Watch out for messages from strangers via email or social networking sites and never click on any links in such messages. Remember, not everyone is who they say they are on the internet.
  • Cover your webcam - or any other camera connected to the internet - when you're not using it.
  • Protect your devices with appropriate security software.
  • Keep all your software and applications up to date with the latest patches.
  • Contact law enforcement immediately if you believe you are being targeted. If you are a minor tell your parents – they can help. Never be afraid to speak up.

If you think you may have fallen victim to this scam, you can report the incident to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555111.