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The police have circulated advice in previous bulletins regarding
the sharing of intimate images online which are subsequently used
to extort money from victims. It appears that this is now becoming
a national trend, often affecting elderly females. Victims usually
report that they have had contact from someone through a social
media app such as WhatsApp or Facebook who will claim to be a single
male (possibly widowed), perhaps from North America. Generally,
they claim to have a successful career with medical professions
being particularly popular, presumably because it will make them
The conversations will start innocently enough and this stage can
go on for weeks in an effort to build trust and rapport but eventually
there will be a request for intimate photos. Once the offender has
those they will request money. This will often be for apparently
genuine financial assistance; perhaps to help pay for some medical
bills. You’ll then be asked to transfer money via a wire transfer
company like Western Union.
In the meantime, the fraudster will be attempting to befriend your
social media contacts. If they’re successful in doing that
they’ll move on to the final stage of the crime; threatening
to expose the pictures to your family and friends and demanding
If you find yourself the victim of such a
scam then the first thing to do is not to panic.
You have already taken the first step by recognising you are the
‘victim’ in this and that you may require support to
help you through this difficult time. The Police will take your
case seriously, will deal with it in confidence, and will not make
judgements on your behaviour.
Do NOT pay. Some victims who have paid what the offenders have demanded
hear no more about it, many others who have paid have then continued
to receive further and often increasing demands. In some cases,
even when the demands have been met the offenders will still go
on to post the videos anyway.
Do NOT communicate further with the offenders. Obtain screen shots
of any communication. Deactivate your Facebook account and use the
online reporting process to report the matter to Skype, WhatsApp,
YouTube etc. to have any video blocked and to set up an alert in
case the video resurfaces. Deactivating the Facebook account rather
than shutting it down will ensure data is preserved and will assist
law enforcement in obtaining evidence. The account can also be reactivated
at any time ensuring online memories are not lost forever.
In general, once they’re blocked, the offenders can’t
contact you. If they are unable to do so then they can’t threaten
you or make demands, so they tend to move on fairly quickly. However,
they may try to utilise other contact routes that they are aware
of, so be mindful of all sites where communication has been made
or you are linked to.
If you have already paid, check to see if the money has been collected.
If it has, and if you are able, then make a note of where it was
collected from. If it hasn’t, then you can cancel the payment.
The major internet players have online web forms to allow victims
to request that websites containing links to any sexually explicit
image/video of themselves be omitted from search results.
Between 5.30pm, Thursday 15 and 9am, Friday 16 August a break in
occurred at Heaven Scent, South Street, Milnathort. (CR/21524/19)
Between 4pm and 5pm, Friday 16 August, a quad bike was stolen from
Meikle Seggie Farm, Milnathort. (CR/21575/19)
Overnight on Wednesday 31 July, a hide was damaged at Loch Leven
Nature Trail, Kinross. (CR/21605/19)
About 4pm, Friday 16 August, a green Merida Mountain Bike was stolen
from Sands Road, Kinross. A male aged between 20-25 years old, stocky
build, wearing a dark baseball cap, dark North Face ribbed jacket
and dark jogging bottoms was seen to take the bike. (CR/21575/19)
Between 5.15pm, Monday 19 August and 8.30am, Tuesday 20 August,
The Complete Look, Kinross was broken into. (CR/21903/19)
Anyone with any information that may be useful should contact
Tayside Division on 101 or any police officer, quoting the crime
reference number listed at each incident. Alternatively, information
can be passed anonymously via the charity Crimestoppers on 0800
Police Scotland –
Telephone 101 for non-emergencies
Community officers for Kinross-shire:
PC Ben Clark and PC Douglas Stapleton.
Community Sergeant (Kinross-shire): Sgt Michelle Burns.
Community Inspector for Perth South (Strathearn, Strathallan, Almond
& Earn, Kinross-shire): PI Kevin Chase
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