'Sextortion' Gang Arrested In Phillipines, But It Might Be Too Late For 'Hundreds Of Thousands' Of Victims

Gilbert Sosa (C), Philippine police chief of cyber crime division
Gilbert Sosa (C), Philippine police chief of cyber crime division
TED ALJIBE via Getty Images

Police in the Philippines have arrested more than 60 people accused of blackmailing thousands of people online after convincing them to have cybersex on the internet.

The "sextortion" gang reportedly targeted mostly men, grooming them using fake Facebook profiles.

After agreeing to meet via Skype or in chatrooms, the gang secretly captured images of their targets exposing themselves in what they assumed was a private, consensual experience.

They then threatened to send the videos and pictures to the victim's friends and family if they did not pay the gang large sums of money.

In some cases the gang demanded up to $15,000, though usually about $500 to $2,000 was the asked-for amount. Interpol said that possibly "hundreds of thousands" of people could have been targeted in similar cases.

The scam had tragic consequences in at least one case, after a 17-year-old boy committed suicide in Scotland after being blackmailed.

The gang was broken up in the sting after Interpol and the local Philippines police arrested about 58 suspects in Manilla.

More than 260 computers, phones and other pieces of evidence were seized in raids by 15 teams of police.

"This is just the tip of the iceberg," said Senior Superintendent Gilbert Sosa, director of the Philippine police Anti-Cybercrime Group, according to the AP.