Social media users are being urged to protect their privacy online after recent reports of sextortion have been recorded on Instagram.
Fraudsters are threatening to share explicit images and videos of victims, who are then asked to pay a fee to stop this from happening.
Usually, these images are obtained by tricking unsuspecting victims into engaging in intimacy with users online. People pretending to be someone they are not are often employed by organised crime groups to entice victims into sharing personal details and images, which are then passed onto fraudsters and threatened to the victim.
Detective Constable Naomi Kinnersley, of Staffordshire Police, said: “This type of fraud can cause severe mental distress and upset for the victims, who are often befriended and blackmailed into sending money to fraudsters.
“Social media users are encouraged to make their accounts private. You shouldn’t accept messages from people that you don’t know and you should always ensure that you know who you are talking to online.
“Don’t be afraid to ask someone to confirm who they are and never feel pressured into doing something online – whether this is of a sexual nature or something which could identify personal details.”
If you have been a victim of sextortion, report it to us immediately via Facebook, Twitter, or by calling 101.
To report anonymously, consider using Crimestoppers via 0800 555 111.