Vryheid men targeted in Facebook blackmail sex scam

Six men in Vryheid have come forward admitting they were victims of a Facebook blackmail sex scam. Photo sourced from the internet and bears no intended resemblance to actual victims.

THE perpetrator of a Facebook blackmail sex scam appears to be targeting white men in Vryheid, the youngest victim being only 18-years-old, and the eldest being in his 60’s.

Six men in Vryheid have come forward admitting they were victims of the scam.

While only two of the victims have since agreed to open cases at Vryheid SAPS, police believe that there may be many more victims who chose to remain quiet or who have succumbed to the blackmailer’s requests rather than endure the shame and humiliation of having a compromising photo posted on social media.

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Vryheid SAPS communications officer, Captain Cheryl Venter, said the victims reported accepting a friend request on Facebook from a person unknown to them.

“Once the victim has accepted the friend request, the blackmailer has access to that person’s photos. The photos are then digitally manipulated to make it seem as if the victim is in a sexually explicit pose. The blackmailer then sends the victim a private message containing the digitally manipulated photo, threatening to publish the photo online if the victim does not pay a certain amount of money,” said Captain Venter, explaining how the scam works.

“One victim was so ashamed and afraid of his family’s reaction, if they had to see the photos, that he actually paid R7 000 to the blackmailer, but it didn’t end there. The blackmailer was soon demanding even more money.”

Men who have been victimised in this way are urged to report to the police station as soon as possible. While all of the victims who have come forward so far, are white men, it is possible that there are black, Indian and coloured men being victimised, who haven’t reported to the police.

“We can only begin to trace cell-phone numbers and bank accounts to find the culprits if we have cases being opened,” advised Captain Venter.

“Victims should not hand over any money. Be honest with your friends and family and tell them what has happened, they will understand. Make hard copies available of all the correspondence between yourself and the blackmailer. This will serve as evidence.”

Estella Naicker

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