CRIMINALS have lured a string of Edinburgh men into a “honey trap” by posing online as attractive women and persuading them to engage in explicit sexual acts.
The crooks record the footage and threaten to send it to the victim’s relatives unless they pay a fee.
The online blackmail is understood to have swept the Capital in recent weeks, with several young men falling victim to the con.
It comes 18 months after a teenager in Fife took his own life after being caught up in a similar scam.
Daniel Perry, 17, appears to have been having online conversations with someone whom he believed to be a girl around his own age and was tricked into making explicit webcam recordings.
He later died after falling from the Forth Road Bridge.
One hour previously, the teenager – an apprentice mechanic from Dunfermline – had read a message on his laptop saying images or video would be made public and shared with his friends and family if he didn’t pay money into an account.
Dubbed a “sextortion” scam, police have revealed that hundreds of teenage boys across the UK have been targeted by male fraudsters posing as young women.
In many cases, once the victim has exposed themselves online a message appears listing all their colleagues, friends and family members on Facebook. A threat is then made to post the video to all of them unless they pay hundreds of pounds,
Today, Detective Inspector Alan O’Brien warned internet users that several men in Edinburgh had been snared by the honey trap across a range of social media platforms over the last month.
“In the incidents that we are aware of, the victims were all young men who frequently use social media and who were contacted by someone they were led to believe was genuine to undertake sexually explicit acts,” he said.
“I would urge everyone to exercise caution whenever they engage in conversation with someone online who they do not personally know.
“Never give out any personal information or send out anything that may leave you in a vulnerable position.
“Anyone who has had a similar approach online or wishes to report falling victim to this scam is asked to contact police immediately.”
Those with information can contact Police Scotland on 101 or alternatively, the charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.