Detectives in York have issued an urgent warning after three men from the York area have been blackmailed by a woman claiming to be called Cathy Wong.
The woman has befriended them on Facebook and asked them to skype her. She has then enticed them into performing an indecent act which she has recorded on video.
She has then told the men, who are all students, that her grandmother is ill and needs money and has asked them each to send £3,000 via money transfer.
When they refused to send the money, she has threatened them with uploading the video to Youtube.
It is believed that the scam is occurring world wide, however these are the first cases reported in the York area. The men are not known to each other and officers are concerned that there may be other victims. Officers are exploring the possibility that the scam is operated by an organised crime group.
Police are urging internet users, particularly students, to be on their guard and to contact them if they believe they have been targeted.
Detective Sergeant Rebecca Dyer of York CID, said: "This scam is causing considerable distress to the victims and I urge anyone who uses any kind of social networking site to be very wary of what they are getting into.
"I am concerned that there are other victims of this scam who are too embarrassed to come forward about what has happened. I urge them to please get in touch with the police. Your information will be dealt with in the strictest confidence and with sensitivity. Please do not suffer in silence."
To report an incident, please contact North Yorkshire Police on 101, select option 1 and pass information to the Force Control Room.
Or you can email Rebecca.email@example.com
You can also pass information anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
9 January 2015