Sextortion warning for North Devon Facebook users

A stock image of a Devon and Cornwall Police car

A stock image of a Devon and Cornwall Police car - Credit: Archant

Police have warned of a ‘sextortion’ blackmailing scam targeting men in the North Devon area. 

They have warned social media users to beware following three reports in the space of a week in which males from the area have been duped and blackmailed by crooks posing as young women on Facebook. 

The victims accepted bogus friend requests before engaging in sexual conversations and webcam interludes. 

They were told compromising video footage of them would be released unless they handed over money. 

Police said criminals often work through a network of Facebook friends living in the same area and believe large numbers of incidents may go unreported because the victims are embarrassed. 

Detective Constable Ben Cartwright, of Barnstaple CID, said: “If you are contacted on social media by someone you don’t know, or aren’t sure that you know, and very quickly the conversation turns flirtatious or sexual – be cautious. 

“It could be a trap that leads to threats to release intimate details about you onto the web if you don’t pay their demands for money. 

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“Unfortunately, we have seen an increase in reported incidents in North Devon with profiles representing themselves as young-adult females, some even using the names of people you may actually know in order to trick you. 

“Remember – the profile picture is unlikely to be the person you are actually talking to. 

“If you are contacted by someone you do not know, do not communicate with them but block them. 

“If you find yourself in difficulty, or you have already paid money, contact the police immediately. 

“Never given out your bank details or any other personal information.” 

Full advice and guidance on sextortion can be found at https://www.devon-cornwall.police.uk/advice/your-digital-safety/sextortion.  

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