Experts and police are warning that so-called “sextortion” scams, whereby a scammer will dupe a victim into stripping and performing sex acts online before demanding a sum of money or threatening to release the footage, are increasing across Europe.
The scams usually involve a victim being contacted on Facebook by an unknown, attractive woman, who will suggest a video chat.
Another version of the scam that May says is growing in popularity involves scammers pretending to be modelling agencies, who target young teenage girls.
Now more and more people are falling for it.”“All sorts of online extortion is going on,” he continues.
“More and more people are building up relations online with people who they think they know.
Increasingly criminals are making use of virtual currency like Bitcoin, Dark Wallet or Dark Coin, which act as online cash and are practically untraceable to the authorities.
Praise be to Allaah, I adhere to the Sunnah as much as possible and I offer prayers regularly in the mosque, praise be to Allaah.
The scammer will then either demand more videos, or a sum of money.
Sextortion crimes form part of a wider trend of cyber crime involving ransoms which law enforcement agencies like Europol are increasingly concerned about.“Rudimentary messages purporting to be from a law enforcement agency would appear on screen informing someone that they had committed some terrible crime,” he says.“Then it got more sophisticated as scammers detected where a person was, so that the scam appeared even more believeable.Typically, these sums of money can range from anything from £50 to £5,000, although May says he has seen far higher sums demanded by gangs, particularly from the Ivory Coast.He also says that most of the scammers are mainly part of criminal gangs operating from the Philippines or Morocco and target around 30-40 people per day.These well-documented crimes involve victims unwittingly downloading ‘ransomware’, which acts as a virus to encrypt a person’s data, effectively blocking them from being able to access any of their files and photos.