Hertfordshire Police have issued a reminder to young people after they received more than nine reports of sextortion involving teenagers within a 24-hour period.
Police shared the warning on April 10 after receiving reports that teenagers had been in conversations with people they had met online and had then been persuaded to share intimate photographs with them.
The young people were then blackmailed into paying money to ensure the photos were not shared further. The amount demanded ranges from hundreds of pounds to thousands, and in some instances, the money has been paid and the photos still shared.
Detective Superintendent Matt Phillips said: “Not only is it illegal to share sexual content online, but victims find it incredibly distressing and traumatic for them and their families when videos or images fall into the wrong hands.
“We are asking parents and teenagers to be mindful about what they share online and with whom, especially those who use chatrooms and online dating sites, or who are chatting with people they do not personally know on social media.
“Often offenders are befriending victims online by using a fake identity and then persuading them to send photos or show themselves intimately on their webcam. In some cases, the offender sends what they claim is an intimate photo of themselves to persuade the victim to share a similar photo.
“Please report this kind of activity immediately. We understand that in most cases it is an error of judgement, and we want to make sure that no one becomes a long-term victim of blackmail.”
Police have advised that if anyone suspects they have been a victim of sextortion, they should stop communicating with the person, take screenshots of the conversation, do not pay any money, and preserve evidence by not deleting any correspondence.
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