"At the moment we are persuaded that there are several blackmail attempts committed every day," says Vincent Lemoine, a specialist in cybercrime in the Gendarmerie's criminal investigations unit."Unfortunately, not everyone who finds themselves victims of this crime is coming forward to the police because these blackmail attempts are so intimate." The French reputation management company, Reputation Squad, has received an alarming number of calls from lonely hearts after they were persuaded to reveal too much of themselves online.
They never say: 'I met someone on the internet and I went naked'.
"But 95% of the time it is actually webcam blackmail." If initial attempts to extort payment fail, the men behind the beguiling internet mask finally reveal themselves, this time posing as agents from the Ivorian police.
Last week we talked about Goals and how to identify what yours should be using the ‘Vision’ method.
When I do this exercise in workshops there are a handful of Goals that come up time and time again.
She was a very beautiful French-looking girl, very pretty." "She was dressed to begin with and asked whether I would be interested in going further. It was captioned with the victim's name and the false allegation that he was performing a sexual act in front of a young girl.
I asked what that meant and she said she wanted to see my body... French police have received a spate of reports of blackmail attempts fitting a similar description.
If you are very young, this can be devastating." Alberic Guigou says: "People get the feeling that when something is out there on the internet it is going to stay there forever. And there are many, many cases in which you can intervene and get things removed from the internet, especially when it is pornography such as the webcam blackmail." You Tube does not host sexually explicit content and should such a video be posted on their site it can be flagged as inappropriate and taken down.
French police advise victims not to meet the blackmailer's demands - the 28 year-old victim we spoke to refused to pay - his blackmailers lost interest and went away.
His blackmailers were relentless and he could see no end to his ordeal. Journalist for the Le Monde newspaper Laure Belot has spoken to people who never thought they would be a victim of this kind of scam.
"We can say what an idiot for undressing in front of a webcam but our society is a society of solitude where people are alone in their rooms with a computer during the night.
Finding a wife wasn’t quite the breeze I always assumed it would be.