'Sextortion' incidents have TRIPLED in Wiltshire in a year

'Sextortion' incidents have TRIPLED in Wiltshire in a year

Published by Faye Tryhorn at 9:30am 1st May 2020.

4 minute read

Wiltshire Police is warning the Covid-19 lockdown might mean that criminals are taking advantage of us being online more often.

The force is asking us to watch out for sexualised 'phishing' emails and be aware on dating websites in particular, with a big rise in the number of cases reported.

We're being asked NOT to click on links if we don't recognise or trust the sender.

WHAT IS PHISHING? 

  • It's an email that usually encourages you to click on links, attachments or share sensitive information which then often contain ransomware to corrupt files on your device
  • Sexualised phishing can try to convince you that your computer security's been compromised, listing technical details and suggested you've been recorded visting adult content sites
  • They'll sometimes claim to have 'proof' in an attachment or details of your 'passwords'
  • It's all in an attempt to scare the victim into paying money, with the sender having no real evidence against you
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We're asked be aware of any emails we're getting if we don't recognise the sender

WHAT'S SEXTORTION? 

That's when people are targeted while using online dating, often involving webcams or phone cameras.

The victims are asked to send intimate pictures or videos, with criminals then threatening to send the content to friends, family or post them online unless a payment is made.

This kind of crimes typically targets young people between the ages of 17 and 25 and men over the age of 60.

Detective Inspector Gemma Vinton from the Wiltshire Police Digital Investigations and Intelligence Unit (DIIU) is asking us to think before we share online:

"Many people enjoy the social side of the internet and it can be a great place to talk and interact with others. We do, however, all need to be aware that not everyone on the internet is who they say they are, and there are people out there whose only reason to be online is to cause harm to others.  

"We have seen an increase in sexualised phishing e-mails, and would urge people not to worry about this, but to forward the e-mail to the suspicious email reporting service run by the National Cyber Security Centre.

"I would also urge the public to stop and think before sharing intimate photos or videos, or taking part in intimate activities online. Please be aware that the person you are communicating with may not be who they say they are, and don't let the heat of the moment cause you to make rash decisions to take part in activities that could lead you susceptible to blackmail attempts.

"However if you do become a victim of sextortion, please do not panic, do not pay, do not communicate any further, and report it to the police.  We appreciate that it can be embarrassing, but these criminals will look to exploit others, and it's important that we do everything we can to identify and stop them to prevent other people falling victim to their crime." 

Child Sex Offences Online Abuse
If you're concerned about the content of any emails you're getting, DON'T click on the links, and report it to police

Angus Macpherson, Police and Crime Commissioner for Wiltshire and Swindon said:

"Sextortion is a horrible crime which can have long lasting financial and emotional impact on the victims. No matter how embarrassing it may seem if you have fallen victim to one of these crimes, Wiltshire Police are here to investigate, but can only do so if you report it. 
 
"Our victims support unit Horizon will be able to help at this most difficult time, offering support where appropriate, and signposting to the most suitable support agencies."

There's more advice on the Wiltshire Police website.

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