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Canary police warn of dangers of “sextorsion” 

Police are warning about the dangers of “sextorsion”, both in the Canary Islands and in Spain.

The method is the same in all of the cases. A person, invariably a man, will be looking at his mobile phone or tablet when a picture of a sexy woman appears in the top right hand corner of the screen.

The woman then invites the man to participate in sexual acts with her via the phone on a virtual basis.

What the man doesn’t realise is that everything is being recorded and he is later blackmailed into paying money in exchange for the video not to be released.

The Technological Crime Group of the National Police Corps in Las Palmas says it receives two to three com-plaints each week for sexual extortion through social net-works.

They say the demand for cash can be as high as 3,000 euros. Mainly, Facebook is being used.

The gangs usually select males aged 18 or 19 because they assume they already have work and can pay up and they operate from outside Spain in Morocco and the Ivory Coast.

One network was dis-mantled by the police last summer but another is still active.

The money is requested to be sent via the Western Union to a specific account on the Ivory Coast with the threat that unless paid, the video will be posted on Youtube.

The cash transfer is collec-ted by a mule who gets about one per cent commission. Once the ransom has been paid, however, the video is never really deleted.

Fortunately, as more and more people get to know about the scam, the number of victims is steadily falling but men are still being caught out.

“There is no free sex on the Internet, unless it is with someone you know and, in that case, you have to be careful with the images. Anything you are caught in an intimate attitude is at risk of being used against you,” warned a police spokesman. “Do not engage in cybersex with someone you do not know.”

If you are a victim of sexting the first thing is to report it, no matter how embarrassing it may be.

Police are liaising with other European countries where this is also happening.