Hundreds of men in Scotland are likely to fall victim to “sextortion” crimes online, Police Scotland has warned.
The force has said men aged between 18 and 44 are the most likely targets of organised criminal gangs, which are usually based overseas.
Victims are blackmailed after being duped into performing sexual acts in front of their webcams and threatened that if they do not pay hundreds of pounds through money service bureaus, the footage will be posted online and sent to friends and family.
Deputy Chief Constable Johnny Gwynne said the crime can have “catastrophic consequences” for some of the victims.
He continued “It is vital that victims are reassured that police will treat the report as serious and confidential, and that they will be supported as it is likely,given the nature of the crime, that they will be experiencing heightened feelings of shame, self-blame, fear and anxiety.
“The sharing of indecent images is very concerning and increasingly indecent images, sent in the belief they would remain private, are being shared online. People need to understand they should only share pictures that they are happy with their friends, family and others seeing. They also need to keep their personal information private and contact an adult if they feel threatened.
“Where a child or young person under 18 has been the victim of online child sexual abuse including ‘sextortion’, avenues to report concerns include parents and carers, guidance teachers, Police and social work. When online they can connect to CEOP where they can make a report and have contact with a child protection adviser who can talk them through what they have experienced/are experiencing and help them to make a plan around their safety.”
Incidents can be reported by calling 101 or contacting www.ceop.police.uk