Teenagers are being blackmailed after sharing intimate photos online

Teenage boys are being blackmailed for thousands of pounds by fraudsters after sharing intimate photos online as police warn over rise in number of sextortion victims

  • Sussex Police said male victims aged between 15 and 20 have been ‘sextorted’
  • A perpetrator they met on Instagram persuaded them to perform sexual acts
  • They then threatened to share the images with contacts in exchange for money

Teenage boys are being blackmailed for thousands of pounds by fraudsters after sharing intimate videos online as police today warned of the growing danger of ‘sextortion’ during the third lockdown.  

Detectives revealed that criminals are trying to befriend unsuspecting victims online by using a fake identity before persuading them to perform sexual acts in front of their webcam.

The perpetrators will then threaten to share the images with the victims’ friends and families in exchange for money or further photos and videos, according to a Sussex Police statement.

A spokesperson for the force explained that the incident can make the victims feel embarrassed and ashamed, and often prevents them from coming forward to report it.

The warning comes as Sussex Police received reports of three male victims, aged between 15 and 20, this month who were being blackmailed after sharing intimate videos with someone they started speaking to on Instagram.

Sussex Police said three male victims, aged between 15 and 20, reported being ‘sextorted’ this month after sharing intimate videos with someone they started speaking to on Instagram

The suspect demanded thousands of pounds and threatened to share the intimate videos with their contacts, police said. However, the victims did not pay money and contacted police instead. 

Officers are now warning of the dangers of sextortion, a form of blackmail where a perpetrator threatens to reveal intimate images in exchange for money for more images.

Detective Constable Matt Watson said: ‘Sextortion is an awful and exploitative crime, commonly carried out through social media sites. It causes extreme distress to victims who may feel too embarrassed to come forward and report the incidents.

‘Although it can be committed by individuals, organised crime is commonly behind it. Perpetrators can be located anywhere with many are based overseas.

Detectives warned that criminals might try to befriend victims online by using a fake identity and then persuade them to perform sexual acts in front of their webcam. Stock

‘Most worryingly, we have seen cases involving victims who are under 18 years old. Perpetrators viewing, downloading or forwarding any such video are carrying out further serious criminal offences.

‘Please be wary of requests from strangers online. We urge people not to share intimate videos or engage in sexual activity with people they don’t know.

‘Anyone who has been the victim of cyber-related blackmail is asked to come forward and report it to police.’

Police also offered tips to stay safe from sextortion and webcam blackmail.

A spokesman said: ‘Do not share intimate videos online; do not get lured into compromising situations such as removing clothes or performing intimate acts online; and be wary about who you invite or accept invitations from on social networking sites, not accepting friendship requests from strangers.   

Facebook, which owns Instagram, has been contacted for comment. 

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