Sex scam gangs tar­get stu­dents

Stirling Observer - - FRONT PAGE -

Chief In­spec­tor Gill Boul­ton

I want to take the op­por­tu­nity to re­visit a topic I covered a few months ago as this is very much still af­fect­ing res­i­dents across the area.

Gift-card or rebate fraud oc­curs in cir­cum­stances in which vic­tims are con­tacted by phone or email by in­di­vid­u­als claim­ing to be from a le­git­i­mate source such as banks, build­ing so­ci­eties or gov­ern­ment de­part­ments such as HMRC or the Home Of­fice.

Vic­tims are asked to pay an over­due ac­count or to set­tle an out­stand­ing tax bill by the means of pur­chas­ing gift­cards or iTunes vouch­ers and most re­cently this has in­cluded Google Play cards.

Al­ter­na­tively peo­ple are asked to pro­vide bank de­tails in or­der they may re­ceive a re­fund.

Please re­mem­ber le­git­i­mate com­pa­nies or bod­ies will never ask for pay­ment in this way and if you are in any doubt as to the ve­rac­ity of some­one who has con­tacted you, stop all com­mu­ni­ca­tion and con­tact the in­sti­tu­tion or depart­ment us­ing a num­ber you have ob­tained from of­fi­cial pa­per­work, web­site or phone­book.

We are very for­tu­nate that in Stir­ling area su­per­mar­kets and re­tail out­lets that sell such gift cards are aware of this scam and are par­tic­u­larly help­ful in con­tact­ing po­lice if they be­lieve some­one try­ing to make a bulk pur­chase of cards has been tar­geted in this way.

A short video ex­plain­ing the scam has been made and can be ac­cessed via https://youtu.be/yRBjwNIQFHs

We have seen a num­ber of re­cent in­ci­dents in­volv­ing what is com­monly known as‘sex­tor­tion’.

This type of scam is typ­i­cally aimed at younger men who are tar­geted by or­gan­ised crime groups, usu­ally based overseas.

They seek to ex­tort money from them by lur­ing vic­tims to per­form ex­plicit sex­ual acts on so­cial me­dia.

If they do so, the vic­tim is then threat­ened that if they do not pay hun­dreds of pounds through money ser­vice bu­reaus, the footage will be posted on­line and sent to friends and fam­ily.

As a re­sult of the age group in­volved, stu­dents at Stir­ling Uni­ver­sity have been tar­geted re­cently and we con­tinue to work with the uni­ver­sity to high­light the crime type and pro­vide ad­vice and in­for­ma­tion for all stu­dents.

Please stay safe on­line and if you would like more in­for­ma­tion on how to spot scams and avoid be­com­ing a vic­tim of fraud please visit ncsc.gov.uk or ac­tion­fraud.po­lice.uk

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