Police warning after online fraudsters target Gib social media users
An ‘online seductress’ has struck again and duped two middle-aged local men into a blackmail scam for cash.
The Royal Gibraltar Police is investigating the incidents and yesterday warned the public not to reply to strangers on social media.
The incidents occur when the men accept a Facebook ‘friend request’ from an unknown woman. The pair will begin to talk online and converse on webcam.
The fraudster will then record the exchange and through editing will attempt to make it seem as though the victim was partaking in indecent acts.
The fraudster will them blackmail the victim with threats to leak the video online unless they front the cash.
This is not the first time that local men have fallen for the scam.
But the scope of the online crime has widened, according to the RGP, and the fraudsters are now targeting men and women of all ages.
Women are being targeted differently, with the scammer attempting to befriend their target, then needing cash for fake medical costs.
When the target refuses the fraudster will then blackmail and threaten in an attempt to extort some cash.
At the core of the advice the RGP has issued is not to accept any friend requests on Facebook from unknown accounts.
“This type of cyber enabled crime is the work of organised criminal networks,” said Detective Superintendent Ian McGrail, head of the RGP’s Crime and Protective Services Division.
“We want to reach out to victims so that they know that they are not alone. We can operate in a confidential environment, offer support and detailed advice.”
“The wave of activity we have detected of late targets both male and female victims and our message is don’t feel flattered by receiving online communications from very nice looking human beings.”
“If it’s too good to be true, it’s probably not. You are not communicating with the person you may think you are communicating with, but rather with a rogue and mean criminal operating the key boards with the sole purpose of obtaining financial gain.”
He added the cyber criminals have so far been unsuccessful in their attempts, but nonetheless public awareness is needed.