CYBER crimials are targeting Warwickshire residents with ‘sextortion’ warn police.
With people spending more time online, criminals are exploiting the coronavrus pandemic by tricking people into believing they have been filmed via their computer’s webcam watching pornography or conducting sexual acts, in return for payment.
This is known as a form of sextortion which sees criminals email victims threatening to share intimate video footage with their friends, family or the wider public via email or social media unless the victim makes a substantial payment within 24 hours of receiving the email.
These types of ‘phishing’ scams are often made more believable by the inclusion of a current or historic online password and payment is usually demanded via BitCoin to make it difficult to trace where the payment has gone to.
They are designed to play on people’s emotions and pressure them into paying the demand, even if no such footage exists.
Another form of sextortion is when cyber criminals encourage victims to perform sex acts and then threaten to publish the footage unless the victim pays a sum of money.
Det Ch Insp Jon Belcher from Warwickshire Police said: “Sextortion can be incredibly traumatic for victims who are understandably frightened of the consequences of any such video material being circulated and are often forced to pay out substantial sums of money.
“If people do end up being blackmailed in this way there are people to help you, don’t suffer in silence, and contact 101, or tell someone close, and do not pay the money.”
Visit the National Cyber Security Centre website – www.ncsc.gov.uk – for more information and advice.
How to protect yourself
* Don’t reply to the email or be pressured into paying
* If a password is mentioned in the email, reset the passwords on accounts that may have used this password or a variation of it as soon as you can. Also turn on Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) where possible
* Ensure you’ve installed the latest anti-virus software on your computer and keep that updated
What to do if you are a victim of sextortion