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Paedophile 'outing' blackmail scam

A warning has been issued about blackmailers who threaten to out their victims as paedophiles unless they pay £10,000 hush money.

Lincolnshire County Council is calling for local residents to be vigilant, after one of its councillors was targeted.

The councillor received a letter at the weekend threatening to publicly accuse them of being a paedophile if they didn't pay a large sum of money.  Two more letters were then sent to their home address.

The council is urging people to report the matter to Lincolnshire Police, if they too receive one of the offensive letters.

Supt Mark Housley, County Officer for Public Protection, said: "An elected member at Lincolnshire County Council has been targeted by a distasteful blackmail scam, which appears to be the same as one in the Thames Valley area in June last year.

"The victim has received a letter to their home address, stating that if they do not pay £10,000 within five days, the blackmailers will claim that they are a paedophile.

"The letter states it doesn't matter if the rumours are false, as once it is placed in people's minds, it will stick for a long time.

"The blackmailers threaten that if their request is ignored,  they will spread the accusation on social media to family members, friends, colleagues, and to the public via a media agency.

"Please do not be alarmed if you receive a letter like this.  Try not to touch the letter too much and call the police immediately on 101, so the letter can be examined by forensics. 

"Don't respond to these malicious letters or transfer any funds out of fear.  As they request payment via bitcoins, a cyber-currency, you would be unlikely to see this money again as it is difficult to trace."

For more information about reporting a scam please visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/tradingstandards

To keep informed with the latest scams please follow @lincsts or Lincolnshire Trading Standards on Facebook.