A warning has been issued after men have been persuaded to engage in a sexual activity online by blackmailers who threaten to share the footage unless money is handed over.
Men are contacted on social networking websites by women unknown to them and during their communications they are encouraged to do a private activity while allowing the woman to view it via a webcam.
She then demands money and threatens to share the footage with the victim’s friends online.
PC Leroy Legrande, from the cyber and financial investigation unit, said: “This type of crime can often be difficult for victims to deal with and there is a risk that people who are targeted may be tempted to pay the offenders. There may also be victims who are reluctant to report the incident due to embarrassment or because they fear repercussions.
“We are urging people to use caution when accepting friend requests on social media from unknown people. If you are contacted by someone on Facebook or any other internet network, please remember that they might not be who they say they are or might not have honest intentions.
“If you believe you have been the victim of a similar offence, please contact us via 101.”
Hertfordshire Constabulary has issued the following general advice to stay safe from cybercrime while using the internet:
>Download latest software updates/patches.
>Use complex passwords for your social media accounts, as well as for banking or other financial log ins.
>Never download something if you don’t know its origin.
>Delete suspicious emails before opening.
>When buying online check for the padlock in the address bar to know it is secure.