PARIS - A new Internet scam has hit France whereby web users in chat rooms are seduced into stripping and simulating sex acts in front of a webcam before being told to pay up or face porn charges.
French police said Friday that they had received about 50 complaints from men and women concerning the scam which they believe represents a tiny fraction of those affected by the potentially embarrassing sting.
The victim receives a request to be someone's "contact" after which the two parties become visible via webcam. After an erotic preamble, the seducer encourages the victim to strip and carry out "sexual gestures."
The unwary surfer later receives an email ostensibly from either the French police, Interpol or even the French embassy in Ivory Coast accusing them of committing a punishable pornographic offence.
Charges can be withheld if the victim pays 1,000 to 3,000 euros (1,400 to 4,200 dollars) into a Western Union account, failing which the webcam performance will be put on the Internet, the emails say.