Huge rise in "sextortion" by crime gangs using social media to entrap victims

The crime is deceptively simple, typically involving the intended victim being approached through social media by an ostensibly attractive young woman who entices into engaging in explicit conversation culminating in a sex act.

As soon as the act has been caught on camera the victim receives a demand for cash, ranging typically from £50 to £500, with the treat the recorded film will be sent to all their friends and contacts – downloaded while the victim was online – and broadcast across the internet.

Behind the young woman used to enticing the victim on-screen will lie an organised crime gang, sometimes operating in the UK but frequently based overseas, targeting hundreds of other victims at a time.