FILE - In this April 30, 2019, file photo, Facebook stickers are laid out on a table at F8, Facebook's developer conference in San Jose, Calif. U.S. A stern warning has been issued to the public to be wary of sending nude photographs of themselves to people they meet on social media. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)
DURBAN - A stern warning has been issued to the public to be wary of sending nude photographs of themselves to people they meet on social media.

This comes after three people were allegedly scammed out of R85000 after people they met on Facebook threatened to share their photographs if they did not pay them money.

Reaction Unit SA’s Prem Balram said a man and two women fell victim to the scam.

Balram said the 24-year-old Phoenix resident said he befriended a woman on Facebook and after exchanging messages, the woman asked for his cellphone number and continued to chat on WhatsApp.

“He told her that he worked for his family’s business and other personal details about himself. Days later, they exchanged nude photographs and the woman then asked for money.

“The woman threatened to share his pictures on social media if he did not pay her R35000,” Balram said.

The man blocked her and she contacted his family business number and left messages for him, demanding that he unblock her. The woman threatened to release the photographs to employees at the business.

Balram said the man succumbed to the demands and paid the woman R35000.

He said Reaction Unit South Africa was informed of another two cases where two women, aged 22 and 26, were extorted out of R25000 each.

“The women were lured into conversations with men on social media and after some time, sent the men images of themselves. The men told them that if they didn’t pay them, they would share the images on social media. One of the women blocked one of the men and he showed up at her daughter’s school and showed the images to her child,” Balram said.

He said both women had paid money into the accounts.

Legal expert Pooja Dela said she had dealt with a number of similar scams.

“Sometimes these extortionists refuse to accept money via online payment and demand cash to be delivered at a specific location. This adds a significant layer of risk,” she said.

She added that people needed to be cautious of whom they befriended on social media.

“At the end of the day, it all comes down to responsible use of social media and it’s important to understand that there are far-reaching consequences and risks associated with sending nude pictures online, even if it’s somebody you know,” Dela said.

KZN police spokesperson Captain Nqobile Gwala said they had not received any cases so far.

She encouraged those who were victims of such scams to report the matter at their nearest police station.

THE MERCURY