The logo for social media giant Facebook, appears on screens at the Nasdaq MarketSite, in New York's Times Square. Social media users have been warned about a new scam doing the rounds on Facebook and WhatApp after three people were allegedly extorted for large amounts of cash after exchanging nude selfies by people that had befriended them on Facebook in Durban. AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Durban - Social media users have been warned about a new scam doing the rounds on Facebook and WhatApp after three people who were allegedly extorted for large amounts of cash after exchanging nude selfies by people that had befriended them on the social media platforms in Durban.

In the first incident, a 24-year-old man, who resides in Phoenix, had been extorted of R35 000 when he sent a woman nude selfies, said Reaction Unit South Africa (RUSA) spokesperson Prem Balram. 

The man had accepted an invite on Facebook and after a brief chat, he exchanged his WhatsApp number with the woman.

Balram said that during a conversation he informed her of his residential area, family business and personal details. 

"Within a few days they exchanged nude pictures. The woman began demanding money and threatened to expose the nude pictures on social media. The victim paid the woman R5 000. She continued to harass him for more money. After blocking the female on social media, she contacted the family business leaving messages for him to unblock her and again threatened to release the pictures to employees at the business. The victim eventually paid R35 000 in cash. The suspect is believed to be from the Tongaat area," Balram said.

In two separate incidents, two woman aged 22 and 26 also fell victim to a Facebook invite. 

Balram said they were extorted for approx R25 000 each by different men. Both victims who are North Coast residents informed RUSA that they were receiving approx twenty friend requests and messages per day on Facebook Messenger after they had posted selfies. 

"The men who are from believed to be from South Africa and India complimented the women on their appearance and convinced them to chat on WhatsApp and messenger. After a lengthy conversation they eventually exchanged pictures of their breasts and private parts. The suspects shortly after began blackmailing both woman into depositing monies into the accounts,"Balram said. 

He said the con artists initially start of with smaller amounts and then begin demanding larger figures. 

"When the woman attempted to block one suspect, he pitched up at a school and showed the nude pictures to one of the woman's children. The women had given the men details of their work, residential addresses and schools that their kids attended in their initial conversations. Both women paid large amounts of money and are living in fear of their safety. One of the victims is unemployed and was forced to sell personal items & borrow money to pay the men,"Balram said.

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