PSNI issue warning over image based sex abuse scam 5 months ago

PSNI issue warning over image based sex abuse scam

There's been an increase in reports of this particular scam.

The Police Service in Northern Ireland have launched an awareness campaign following rising reports of an image based sexual abuse scam.

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According to the PSNI, the scam sees blackmailers demand that victims pay a ransom, otherwise they will share their intimate photos and images online.

Outlining how the crime is carried out, a warning on the PSNI's website reads: "Sextortion is a cyber-enabled crime during which victims are lured into sharing intimate images or performing sexual acts in front of a webcam. Unbeknown to victims, their actions are recorded by criminals who then use the video footage in an attempt to blackmail individuals."

It continues: "Offenders commonly target their victims through dating apps, social media or webcams. Webcam blackmail usually involves people being lured into taking off some or all of their clothes in front of their webcam, only to be told that you have been recorded and that the video will be posted online and/or shown to the victim's contacts unless a fee is paid - usually a substantial sum of money."

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They added that the crime can have a "devastating effect".

As RTÉ reports, the PSNI recorded between 35 and 40 cases of image based sexual abuse blackmail between January and July last year. The majority of victims - 94% - were men, and the age group that was most affected were those between the ages of 18 to

Launching their campaign, Detective Chief Inspector David McBurney from the PSNI said: "The exchange may start with flirting and flattery, but ends with the victim coaxed into sending intimate images or performing sexual acts online, unwittingly in front of a camera.

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"Behind the fake and attractive persona, there's a criminal. These people are often part of sophisticated and organised crime groups, mostly based overseas. They extort their victims by threatening to share those images or recordings unless demands for money are met."

If you have been a victim of image based-sexual abuse in Ireland, you can report it on hotline.ie.