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Sextortion is a form of blackmail where criminals use fake identities to befriend victims online - using websites such as Facebook, Skype or Linkedin - before persuading them to perform sexual acts in front of their webcam.
The gangs, based in Morocco, the Philippines and the Ivory Coast, use "honey trap" actors to lure their victims in and record the images before threatening to share them with the victims' friends and family unless they accede to their demands for payment.
Last year more than 40 arrests were made in the Philippines, and there is one ongoing international prosecution connected to one of the suicides reported this year.
In one case the victim had been told "your life is over, you may as well go and kill yourself".
Be aware that the scammer's Skype name is different to their Skype ID, and it's the ID details that police will need.
Be wary of pictures/videos you post online - once they are published on the internet it can be downloaded and shared by other people.
Never open email attachments or click on links from strangers and watch out for email scams, such as a suspicious message from your bank.
It comes as the Met Police released worrying figures showing the number of sex crimes involving dating apps Tinder and Grindr was up 2,000 per cent this year.
The National Crime Agency and the National Police Chiefs' Council have launched a new campaign to advise those who have been, or are likely to be, targeted.