POLICE warned last year Brits are being targeted by organised gangs tricking people into stripping off or performing sex acts online and using the footage as blackmail.
Four men killed themselves in a year after being exposed by the so-called "sextortion" rackets, officers said.
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".
The National Crime Agency said the victims are aged between 14 and 82, with the highest proportion being men aged between 21 and 30, and with a substantial proportion in the 11-20 age group.
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.Preserve evidence: Make a note of all details provided by the offenders, for example; the Skype name (particularly the Skype ID), the Facebook URL; the Western Union or Money Gram Money Transfer Control Number (MTCN); any photos/videos that were sent, etc.Be aware that the scammer's Skype name is different to their Skype ID, and it's the ID details that police will need.In a similar scheme, but usually not with the aim of blackmail, "catfishing" is where an online user is tricked by another who pretends to be someone they are not in order to befriend, fool or entice.The number of people reporting financially-motivated cyber enabled blackmails more than doubled from 385 in 2015 to 864 up to November 2016, police said. Four young men in the UK have killed themselves in the last year after being blackmailed by one of the cyber gangs.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.