York men tricked into filming indecent acts – then blackmailed

21 Jan 2015 @ 9.04 pm
| Crime
Be careful while on social media… Photograph © Wikipedia

At least six men in and around York have been targeted on Facebook and the wider web by criminals looking for blackmail victims.

Detectives in York have renewed their warning to social media users to be on their guard after more victims of the scam have come forward.

Officers issued an appeal earlier this month after a woman claiming to be called Cathy Wong befriended men on Facebook and asked them to Skype her.

She then enticed them into performing an indecent act which she recorded on video.

The woman then told the victims that her grandmother is ill and needs money – and has asked them each to send £3,000 via money transfer.

More victims

Three more victims have come forward since officers issued the warning, making a total of six in the York and North Yorkshire area.

In the most recent case, a woman called Ling Cheung befriended the victim, a man from York, who reported the offence to the police this week.

Detectives are exploring the possibility that the scam is operated by an organised crime group and any number of false names could be used.

Officers have reiterated their warning to members of the public, in particular students, to be on their guard and not to befriend anyone on the internet who they do not know or pass intimate photos or videos of themselves to anyone.

“We can’t emphasise strongly enough how important internet safety is. Please don’t leave yourself vulnerable to online criminals.

“The victims in these cases have been left extremely distressed by what’s happened to them and I urge everyone using social media to be on their guard and to please be careful when it comes to sharing images.

“Not only can criminals use the images to blackmail you, but once they have been uploaded to the internet, they are virtually impossible to remove.”

– Acting Detective Sergeant Matthew Wilkinson

If you believe you have been a victim of this scam, please call North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 1 and pass information to the Force Control Room.

Victims have come forward from the York, Whitby and Selby areas.

There is more information about online safety on the North Yorkshire Police website.