Northern Ireland

Internet sex scam: Six NI men lured into intimate acts online, says PSNI

Laptop Image copyright PA
Image caption Six men have become the victims of the scam in the past ten days.

Men in Northern Ireland are being lured into performing intimate acts online by scammers who want to blackmail them, police have said.

Six men have become the victims of the scam in the past ten days.

They have reported being asked to share explicit images or videos with women online.

Then the blackmail begins - with threats made to share the content on the internet if the men do not co-operate.

Police have issued a warning to all internet users to be on high alert following the reports.

It is believed the men were drawn into a honey-trap through social media accounts which appeared to belong to women.

Several men report similar crimes to the police every week.

Social media

Det Chief Insp James Mullen said anyone who becomes the victim of a similar crime should not respond to the blackmailers demands or pass on any money, but report the incident to the police immediately.

He said most of the time those making threats do not follow through, and simply move on to their next victim.

"Generally people are very embarrassed, but we want them to know they can come to us.

"We all deserve to be able to use the internet to learn, explore and connect with each other.

"But, all of us need to be aware of the risks involved in doing so, especially on social media."

Image caption Police have also warned users not to accept friend requests from people they do not know

The advice from police is not to share personal information or images with people you do not know.

"Do not get lured into compromising situations such as removing clothes or performing intimate acts online. You do not know who may see the images," Det Chief Insp Mullen said.

"It may seem like a bit of fun at the time but there is always a chance those images could be shared or get into the wrong hands and could lead to harmful situations such as stalking, abuse or blackmail."

Police have also warned users not to accept friend requests from people they do not know and to set privacy settings on all devices so that only friends can view an account.