A YOUNG man whose face was photoshopped onto a naked body paid £275 to scammers who threatened to send the video to ‘everyone in his address book.’

The Ascot resident was contacted by a woman online before they started messaging on social network site Instagram.

Here, she asked him to show her his body, but sent her a picture of himself fully-clothed instead.

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Shortly after this, the woman demanded money or she said she would send a video of his face on a naked body -- performing an intimate act -- to everyone in his address book.

He sent her £150 before she demanded more money and he sent another £125.

The man then blocked the person he was talking to, who is believed to be based in the Philippines.

Police have advised him not to send more money, block the person online and to be more cautious in future.

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Jeffrey Pick, community engagement and resilience officer for Windsor and Maidenhead, said: “This can happen to anyone – even if no intimate videos have taken place!

“Please be extremely careful who you talk to online – particularly if you are face timing!”

What is sextortion?

According to Lancashire Police, sextortion is “a form of blackmail where, usually, victims are lured into performing sexual acts in front of their web-cam, then unbeknown to them, their acts are recorded by criminals.

“These criminals then attempt to extort the victim, usually for money by threatening to reveal the intimate images unless their demands are met.

“Victims are commonly targeted through dating apps, social media, webcams or adult pornography sites.

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“While sextortion can be committed by individuals, organised crime gangs are commonly behind it.”

Is it common?

According to Thames Valley Police, 16 local sextortion cases were reported to the force from January to March 2021.

In February, Ascot police officers sent out a warning after a woman was scammed into sending a fraudster money following explicit calls online.

They had met on a dating site, too.

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She was left “devastated and distraught” after being coerced into paying the man.

What should I do if I am a victim of sextortion?

Lancashire Police, who have a comprehensive section on sextortion on their website, have advice for dealing with this kind of blackmail.

They say:

  • You should not panic -- instead, call the police on 101 and officers will deal with your case in ‘absolute confidence’
  • You should not keep communicating with the scammer -- instead, suspend social media accounts instead of deleting them and take screengrabs of all messages.
  • You should not pay the scammer, as this may make the fraudster demand more money going forward