A number of men in Northern Ireland have been targeted by blackmailers after being coerced into performing sex acts online. The men were told the videos would be posted online if they did not send thousands of pounds to the blackmailers.
The men, reportedly in Newtownabbey, Carrickfergus and Antrim, were asked to film themselves performing sex acts and then told the footage would be released online if they did not transfer money to a Western Union account in the Ivory Coast, the Police Service of Northern Ireland said.
Detective sergeant Neil Maxwell said: "In the most recent cases, men of various ages have been asked to perform or participate in a sexual act online which is recorded and then used to blackmail the individual with threats to upload the material on to social media platforms.
"Some victims have paid money because they have felt embarrassed and this usually involves a Western Union transfer to an account in the Ivory Coast.
"We want anyone who has been the victim of this type of crime to come forward. Do not feel pressurised into paying money as this is unlikely to resolve the issue. We are seeing an increase in these types of crime and we can help you."
Maxwell also issued a warning to those who think their privacy is protected online. He said: "Finally, don't do anything online that you wouldn't be prepared to do in public. There is no such thing as private on the internet and unfortunately there are criminals out there who are only too willing to exploit people for money."