Initial contact was made through Facebook
TWO COUNTY Limerick males have fallen victim to an “insidious” sex scam on the internet.
Gardai have confirmed they are investigating two reports of blackmail by women they met through Facebook.
It is understood the scam artists filmed two males - an adult and a teenager - in a compromising position. They then threatened to post the clip on their Facebook page so family, friends and possible partners could see it - unless they received a sum of money.
Acting Bruff superintendent, Inspector Luke Conlon described it as “insidious” and “a totally new phenomenon”.
“It is extortion. We want to make people aware that these things are happening and to warn them about the dangers. The person is a completely innocent victim.
“It isn’t alone happening here, it is happening around the country. I would say there are an awful lot of incidents not being reported out of embarrassment by the person.
“This is a new phenomenon with social media and improved technology – most of the computers have cameras built into them. You think you are safe in you own castle and then something like this happens,” said Insp Conlon. His simple advice is if you don’t know who you are talking to on Facebook, don’t do anything imprudent.
The scam starts with an attractive female, usually from Eastern Europe sending a friend request to a Facebook user. The person accepts and they begin a relationship online. Webcams are used so they can see each other. Over time the liaison develops and becomes more intimate. The woman then videos, over the internet, the person she has targeted in a state of undress or performing a sexual act. A message is then sent demanding a sum of money or the video will be posted for their loved ones to see. Once the first payment is received they often look for more money.
If you have been affected by this scam you are asked to report it to gardai in complete confidentiality.
Insp Conlon also urges parents to speak to their children about the dangers of social networking sites. “They should not be engaging with people if they don’t know who they are.”