SINGAPORE - The first six months of this year saw a rise in attempted extortion and extortion cases compared with the same period last year.
A majority of the cases - which rose from 44 to 54 cases - were instances of cyber-extortion.
The total amount involved in these cases fell from just over $112,000 to just over $19,000.
The cases usually involve female suspects who try to extort money by threatening to post compromising photos or videos of victims, mostly males, after a cybersex session over a web camera, police said.
They said the victims are coaxed into undressing and performing indecent acts in front of a webcam, the process is recorded and the males are then blackmailed.
In most cases, the female suspects are believed to be based overseas, they said.
Mrs Rachel Lee, senior assistant director of Fei Yue Family Service Centre, Mr Daniel Koh, psychologist at Insights Mind Centre and Dr Munidasa Winslow, senior consultant psychiatrist at Novena Medical Centre, gave the following five reasons why people fall for these scams:
1. EASILY OBSESSED
Males are generally vulnerable because they can get more easily obsessed with sex, while girls generally think of sex in terms of relationships and emotions more than just the sex act.
Males and younger people tend to be more impulsive, committing the acts out of fun, excitement or pleasure without thinking of the consequences.
The males may be more passive or isolated individuals offline, with not much relationships or social contact. When another party pays positive attention to them, they tend to depend on the relationship and, in these instances, misplace their trust.
4. FALSE SECURITY
Performing the acts at home gives them a false sense of security.
Victims may see it as a personal interaction between two people.
Victims may not be aware that recording is possible on these social media platforms.
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