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The Philippine National Police (PNP) has announced yesterday that they have arrested 58 people who are involved in a cybersex extortion scam that targets foreigners. The arrest is part of an international probe on demolishing cybersex rings around the world.
PNP chief Alan Purisima said that the syndicate’s mode of operation is to open social media accounts and pose as female Asians to look for and attract potential foreign victims. The syndicate then coaxes the foreigners into sending provocative materials or engaging in cybersex without knowing that they are being filmed.
After the materials are collected, the syndicate threatens to expose the private materials unless the victims pay up. The crooks usually extort $500 (£296) to $2,000 from their victims. Some even pay up to $15,000 to keep the materials private. These cases only get reported to police once victims can no longer pay.
According to Interpol and the countries involved in the international probe, the syndicate had already victimised 530 people in Hong Kong and was involved in the suicide of a Scottish teenager last year.
Interpol said that the syndicate is operating ‘on an almost industrial scale.’ Like call centre offices, the extortionists are given training and bonuses to motivate them to reach their financial targets. Digital Crime Centre Director Sanjay Virmani said ‘These crimes are not limited to any one country and nor are the victims.’
The cybersex centres in the Philippines, including Cebu, are at present being probed by the international anti-cybersex task force from America, Hong Kong, Britain, Singapore, Australia and Interpol to expose syndicates and those who run paedophile dens.