Police in Tayside are warning members of the public to be careful of who they are talking to online after an increase in scams.
Over the past few weeks officers have received an increase in the number of reports of social media users falling victim to “sextortion” scams.
The scams usually involve the victim being enticed to send nude or explicit photos to someone who has befriended them online.
The victim is then blackmailed into sending money, or in some recent incidents, gift cards, in order to prevent the images being distributed to people they know.
The scam is typically aimed at men between the ages of 18-44, however police have had reports recently of both male and female victims in their teens to their 60s.
Detective Inspector Keith Duncan from Tayside CID said: “We are again experiencing an increase in this type of online crime.
“With these types of incidents, you will never be communicating with the same person that you may be seeing as a profile picture, or as they have described themselves to you initially.
“They pose as someone different in order to attract your attention. Their goal is to win your trust, convince you they are genuine, and persuade you to send compromising images of yourself to them.
“The overall objective is to extort money from you by threatening to post these compromising images of you online to friends and family through social media platforms.
“I would appeal to all members of the public to take a few minutes and seriously consider who you think you are talking to during these exchanges which frequently arise from random friend requests through the likes of Facebook, Instagram and several dating sites.
“Once you send images, they are out there forever with little chance of ever fully recovering them.
“If you find yourself being blackmailed or extorted in this way, contact us on 101 or 999 in an emergency. You will be given support and your complaint will be taken in utmost confidence.”
For more information on how to safeguard against sextortion, click here.