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Public warned of 'sextortion' email scams

The scammers send an email threatening to extort victims using false graphic images. Photo: PA

Gloucestershire Constabulary is warning members of the public to be on their guard after a fraudster tried to extort money from a victim in a scam email.

On Christmas Eve, the offender sent an email asking for $330 to be transferred to them threatening that if it wasn't done, compromising sexual footage of the victim would be sent to all of their email and social media contacts.

The sender claimed to be from Belarus and said that they had recorded the victim through the camera on their computer.

There is no suggestion perpetrators had any compromising footage of the victim and this is simply a ploy to scam the victim into handing over money.

"Thankfully in this case the victim didn't hand over any cash and told police straight away about the threats that had been made. If you find yourself in this scenario please contact police and do not hand over any money."

– Detective Sergeant Sue Fereday, Digital Intelligence Unit

Gloucestershire Constabulary plan to raise awareness of such scams next month in their 'Sextortion campaign'.

Sextortion involves the sharing of sexual images, videos or messages, which are then used by the receiver to extort or blackmail the sender.

Anyone who receives emails similar to this, or is threatened with compromising footage is asked to please contact police by calling 101 or emailing 101@gloucestershire.police.uk.