The County You Live, Work And Play
Lanarkshire Web Cam Extortion
Web-users in Lanarkshire are being warned of the dangers from online sexual predators after new figures reveal that officers are receiving weekly reports of web-cam extortion.
Sex predators are using the internet to cultivate online relationships - the purpose of which has a far darker motive.
Officers in Lanarkshire have recorded a small rise in the number of adults being targeted with web-cam extortion which is threatening to distribute explicit images of another person unless the victim pays a substantial sum of money or supplies increasingly graphic images.
This type of crime can affect anyone.
Between April and July 2016, Lanarkshire Division received 14 reports of incidents, compared to 12 incidents between December 2015 and March 2016.
The victims were men and women aged between 16 and 56 years of age.
In most cases victims accepted a Facebook friend request from a complete stranger and communicated with them over hours, days or even weeks to build a relationship and obtain private information on friends, family and colleagues of the victim.
An agreement was then made to enter into a video chat, usually via Facebook or Skype where both parties engaged in sexual activity, shared with each other via webcam, whilst one party records the other taking part, without the victim knowing.
A demand is then made for money or more explicit images in exchange for not sending the recording to the victim’s family, friends or work colleagues.
Inspector Andy Thomson, at Motherwell Police Office, has issued the following advice: "Always remember that you are in control of what you say and do online. Be suspicious of friend requests from strangers and make sure your private information stays private.
"You have the power to end the communication at any time, so never feel pressured into doing something that you may regret in the future. If you do become the unwitting victim of webcam extortion – do not pay and do not communicate further.
"Take screen shots of the other person and any conversation and report it to the social media provider, deactivate (but don’t delete) your account, and then report it to the police. We will help you.”
Detective Chief Inspector Donna Duffy added: "Be assured that we will take your report seriously, in complete confidence and will never make judgements about your behaviour. You are the victim and you are our primary concern.
"We will support you and do everything in our power to remove the content from the internet and bring those responsible to justice.”
For further advice on internet safety, and keeping safe online, visithttp://www.scotland.police.uk/keep-safe/keep-secure-online