Men blackmailed over ‘explicit acts via Skype’ in St Albans, London Colney and Radlett

Police are warning men across Herts about the scam

Police are warning men across Herts about the scam - Credit: Archant

Blackmail attempts have been made upon young men, including teenagers, after they were encouraged to carry out explicit acts via Skype.

A spokeswoman for Herts Police said that three men from St Albans, Radlett and London Colney, aged from 18 to 34, were among a group of men targeted in the countywide scam.

The men were contacted by a ‘young attractive woman’ via social media and encouraged to have conversations via the online video chat service, Skype.

After she enticed victims to perform a sexual act for her to view, they were later told that the event had been videoed and this would be posted to their friends and family via social media if they did not pay her money.

While the three local victims did not pay the blackmailer, the police spokeswoman said that in other cases money had been transferred to the predator – often in the region of £500.

So far this year, the force has received 20 such reports from men aged between 17 and 36 across the county, with half of these occurring in Welwyn Hatfield.

Potential blackmail victims are being approached on various sites, however predominantly through friend requests on Facebook.

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Detective Inspector John Hazeldine, of the Local Crime Unit, said: “This is a scam which we believe is taking place across the country, and not confined to Hertfordshire.

“However, it is important that young men are made aware that this is taking place so they do not fall victim.

“We believe that Welwyn Hatfield has seen a larger proportion of offences because of the student population – as the majority of victims in the district have been students.

“I’d urge anyone faced with a similar approach not to engage in such activity.”