Five people have been victims of attempted sextortion in Tayside in ten days as police warn of a spike in criminals targeting people online.
The victims range in age from 13 years old to 34 years old with two crimes noted in Dundee and three in Perth in the ten days to Friday, June 29.
The majority of scammers online take on the persona of young attractive women, police said.
“The threat of sexual exposure is devastating especially when what you thought was private and personal is now being used as a threat against you,” said detective chief inspector Keith Duncan.
“In Tayside, we are seeing a rise in these crimes and we want people to be aware of the risks. Communicating through social media is default for most adults and children but more and more criminals are targeting people online. They don’t care who they hurt, they just care about the money.
“If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sextortion please contact the police.
“Every report will be treated seriously, sensitively and you will be treated with respect.”
There has been an increase in sextortion crimes which sees people threatened with the sharing of sexual information, images or videos to extort money from them, whether the material actually exist or not.
In 2021-22, an estimated 1,260 crimes of threats and extortion were cyber-crimes, an increase of 73% from the estimated 730 recorded in 2020-21 – most of these cases relate to sextortion.
Most commonly the perpetrator threatens to reveal evidence of the victim’s online sexual activity unless they receive some form of monetary payment.