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Like many other UK forces in recent years, North Wales Police has seen a significant increase in online blackmail (sextortion) offences.
A total of 73 incidents of this nature have been recorded this year already within the force area.
Typically, the victim is encouraged to use their webcam to engage in online sexual activity with the offender.
The victim is usually unaware that this activity has been recorded and they will then be presented with a demand for money.
This demand will often be accompanied by a screenshot of the victim’s social media contacts with a threat to circulate the recording if they don’t pay.
David Williams from the North Wales Police Crime Prevention Hub said: “North Wales Police want to raise awareness of this particularly sensitive and yet potentially very damaging crime.
“We know that this type of crime is hugely under-reported with some research suggesting as few as 17% of victims will make an official report.
“And the scale of the problem globally suggests that ‘sextortion’ is a profitable business for organised crime groups, which in turn suggests that many victims do pay the blackmailer.
“Plenty of advice is available for anyone who becomes a victim; however it is far better to avoid becoming a victim in the first place.
“It is accepted that many people use the internet for flirting and cybersex, but we want to warn people that someone you meet online might not be who they say they are.
“I would urge everyone to be very careful about who they befriend online, especially if you’re considering sharing anything intimate with them.”
Should you become a victim of sextortion, you can find advice by visiting the National Crime Agency website and type ‘sextortion’ in their search window.
Further information around sextortion offences can also be found here
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