The PSNI has issued advice after dealing with “multiple online blackmailing incidents” involving men “in revealing positions” on webcam.
An officer writing on the PSNI Craigavon facebook page explained what he termed the “the set up”.
“Girls send suggestive, dirty messages, building it until they ask you to video call them. During the conversation they’ve added you on Facebook or other social media and thus get your friends list.
“When you do video call them, you see a girl doing something suggestive or enticing and are encouraged to do the same. What you don’t realise is that they’re screen recording, and as you do whatever you’re doing, they are capturing everything they need.
“No sooner have you caught your breath than you’re sent a link to a private YouTube video which, to your horror, is you doing what you’ve just done.”
The officer continued: “Now, remember that friends list? They now have links to the profiles and will send you that list too, with the threat of sharing the video with your friends if you don’t pay hundreds of pounds.”
The advice is as follows: “If you find yourself in this position, remember these important points: paying them will not make them go away. It will make them ask for more. Never pay. Call us (the PSNI) immediately. Capture screen shots of any conversations. This gives us best evidence.
“You can’t bargain with them. You’re not talking to the person you think you are. They are organised gangs.”
The officer added: “Of course, prevention is better than cure. Never engage in any intimate online activity with anyone you don’t know. There are some nasty people out there who know how our simple man brains work. They will take advantage of that. They will exploit that.
“Normal strangers won’t strip on camera for free. If it seems to good to be true, it almost certainly is.”