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Police issue sextortion advice following online blackmail incidents

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DON’T panic. Don’t communicate. Don’t pay.

That’s the advice given to victims of online blackmail after Bitcoin payments spark sextortion fears.

Victims are faced with demands to pay, or the threat that intimate photos and videos will be shared.

Dyfed-Powys Police has offered the guidance after receiving reports of suspicious transactions involving the digital currency Bitcoin.

Victims are usually contacted through email or social media, with demands to make payments in Bitcoin.

Recent sextortion reports have followed two patterns.

Detective Sergeant Rob Gravelle said: “In two cases we’ve had recently, the victims have accepted a social media friend request from an unknown person, and started to chat with them.

“The offender has then asked the victim to engage in a video chat, with intimate photos and videos being shared. Following the conversation, a list of demands has been sent to the victim, with threats that if they do not pay, the videos will be sent to family and friends, or posted online.

“One victim reported that the blackmail fee was £1,500, which thankfully they did not pay.

“In two other cases that have been reported over the past month, the victim has been watching pornography online, and received an email containing threats shortly after.

“The offender claimed to have hacked their device and set up a dual screen system where they could record what the victim was watching, as well as what they were doing. The victims were told that the hacker had videos of them, which again would be shared with family and friends.”

Following these recent reports, Dyfed-Powys Police has offered advice to anyone who receives similar threats online.

Don’t panic. Stay calm and report it to police immediately. Your case will be taken seriously, it will be dealt with in confidence, and no judgements will be made on your behaviour.
Do not pay. In some cases where victims have paid in the hope that the threats will go away, they have continued to receive demands. If you have already paid, check if the money has been collected. If it has, and you are able to, make a note of where it was collected. If it hasn’t then you can cancel the payment – and the quicker the better.
Do not communicate with the offender. Take screenshots of any conversations, deactivate the social media account they contacted you on and use online reporting processes to report the matter to the social media platform. Deactivating the account, rather than shutting it down, will ensure data is preserved and will assist police in obtaining evidence.
DS Gravelle continued: “The most important aspect in investigations of this kind is the safeguarding and support we offer to victims. People in this position feel embarrassed and vulnerable, and we need to ensure they are offered support, or know where to go to receive it.

“We urge all victims to report incidents to police – you are not alone, and by taking that step you could help prevent other people from becoming victims.”

To report blackmail or sextortion to Dyfed-Powys Police call 101. If you are at immediate threat of harm, always call 999.

To keep your online accounts as safe as possible, never use the same password for multiple accounts and make sure you change passwords regularly. Visit www.getsafeonline.org for more online security advice.

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New Quay: RNLI receives donation from local couple

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LINDA and Tony Miles from Llandysul recently donated a sum of money to New Quay Lifeboat Station on behalf of their grandson.

Being former members of Teifi Boating Club in Gwbert, their grandson Robert had asked for his Christmas present money to go to the RNLI at New Quay.

On receiving the donation Roger Couch, New Quay RNLI’s Lifeboat Operations Manager said “We would like to thank Robert for his kind thoughts and generosity. Donating money to New Quay Lifeboat Station ensures we can carry on with our lifesaving work in Cardigan Bay.”

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Ten years for baby abusing paedophile who handed himself in to police

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A LLANILAR man who confessed to child sex offences no-one was aware of was jailed for 10 years on Friday (Jan 18).

Jared Perry, aged 32, walked into Aberystwyth police station and told officers he had sexually assaulted seven children, three of them when they were babies.

Perry, of Talardeg, was told by Judge Paul Thomas that he was a dangerous offender as defined by law and would be on licence and liable to be recalled to prison until 2035.

John Hipkin, prosecuting, told Swansea Crown Court that he made members of his family aware that he had committed child sex offences.

Perry promised “to change” but went on to sexually assault more children.

Judge Paul Thomas said those who were aware of Perry’s offending would have to live with their decision not to inform the police.

Eventually Perry’s conscience got the better of him and he made full admissions to the police.

Mr Hipkin said the prosecution had to accept that there was no evidence of his offending apart from his confession.

He said one of Perry’s victims was a two month old baby.

Mr Hipkin said some of the assaults happened when Perry was about 16. There was then a gap before a second spate of offences when he was aged between 26 and 29.

Perry’s barrister, Dean Pulling, said he had been brought up in a deeply religious environment and had been driven by his conscience to confess.

Perry admitted 10 offences of indecent assault and sexual assault on children aged under 13.

Judge Thomas said there were aspects of the case that were unique to the point of being bizarre.

“The evidence comes solely from your own admissions.

“One truly shocking aspect is that after those first offences you told members of your family.

“For reasons known best only to them, and which they will have to live with, they did not inform the police.

“No doubt they gave you a chance because you promised to change. But you did not. You were unable to prevent yourself from re-offending.”

Judge Thomas said he was in no doubt whatsoever that Perry posed an extremely high risk of sexually harming children in the future.

Perry was made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and told to register with the police as a sex offender, both orders to run for the rest of his life.

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D-Day anniversary offer for veterans

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FOLLOWING the first meeting of 2019, the Ceredigion Armed Forces Community Covenant (CAFCC) wishes to endorse Royal British Legion’s generous offer of providing a fully-funded tour back to the beaches for 300 D-Day veterans.

June 6 marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day Landings.

Following the CAFCC meeting, Councillor Paul Hinge, Ceredigion’s Armed Forces Champion said, “This most generous gesture is fantastic, everyone of those eligible to travel is a nonagenarian 90+ year old and this trip will be a fitting way to say ‘thank you’ for their contribution as the Allies won WW2.”

The Royal British Legion, in partnership with Arena Travel, have chartered a ship, the MV Boudicca, to provide a fully funded tour for 300 D-Day Veterans from 02 June until 09 June. Each veteran will be able to bring one carer who will also be fully funded.

Veterans interested in applying for the trip need to complete the eligibility form by Monday 4 February 2019. The eligibility form and more details of the event can be found online at: https://www.britishlegion.org.uk/community/d-day-75/

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