The British National Crime Agency (NCA) has described the continuous increase in the cases of Webcam blackmail as “worrying”, "Sextortion" is a form of blackmail where criminals use fake identities to befriend victims online before persuading them to perform sexual acts in front of their webcam. These images are then recorded by the criminals who threaten to share them with the friends and family members of the victim if they don’t pay a given amount of money.
Teenager Gary, a victim of web cam blackmail opened up on his experience Gary was blackmailed after he started visiting dating websites. He met a female who invited him to communicate through the web cam, they got talking and along the line Gary was persuaded to share private images of himself with his face showing as he was instructed, "Then the messages came up, saying 'pay £500 or this is going all over social media. I want £500', and listing my friends' details." He explained. The teenager confessed of contemplating suicide because he knew he wouldn’t be able to face anyone once the images were released, Gary however went, instead of the bank, to the Police who he claimed handled it well and got him someone to talk to.
About 95% of victims of sextortion were men or boys, figures released by Britain’s NCA showed. It said victims were aged between 14 and 82, with the highest proportion being men aged between 21 and 30, and with a substantial proportion in the 11-20 age group.
In October, a 31-year-old man was charged by police investigating the suicide of schoolboy Ronan Hughes. One of the four men who took their own lives, 17-year-old Ronan killed himself in June 2015 after being tricked into posting images on a social networking site.
The following Tips have been have been given for anyone who has fallen into this situation-
• Go to the police, they will not judge you and would deal with your situation confidentially.
• Avoid further communication with the criminals, Suspend your Facebook platform (but don't delete it) and use the online reporting process to report the matter to the social media platform to have any video blocked and to set up an alert in case the video resurfaces. Also take screen shots of all your communications and deactivate temporarily instead of shutting down your accounts in order to preserve data.
• Don’t pay anyone: In some cases, even when the demands have been met the offenders will still go on to post the videos. If you have already paid, check to see if the money has been collected, if it has, and if you are able, then make a note of where it was collected from. If it hasn't, cancel the payment. Blackmail is a crime, you must never pay the offender.
• Save any evidence: No matter how embarrassing it may be, keep a note of all details provided by the offenders.
• Immediately discontinue every conversation with anyone who asks for such content, certain things should not be shared over the web and especially with people you don’t know.
• And finally, remember, you are the victim of organised criminals, you're not alone and confidential support is available.