Young teenagers are falling victim to phone scammers who coerce them into sending sexually explicit images before blackmailing them.
Gardaí said a number of teenage boys have reported the scam recently; however, teenage girls have also been targeted.
On Newstalk Breakfast Garda Crime Prevention Officer Sergeant Dean Kerins said the scam “starts off very simply.”
“One of the young boys in particular, he got a friend request from a complete stranger that started off innocently but very quickly proceeded to a point where the lady in question started sending inappropriate sexual images of herself to the young men and then looked for them in return,” he said.
“It happened very, very quickly. In the space of an hour, all this happened. Then, all of a sudden, the digital blackmail starts almost straight away then, where the third party starts looking for money from the young boys.”
"Complete and utter scam"
He said it is important that teenagers remember that this is a “complete and utter scam”, and the images are not real.
“The people who are doing this are living in a different part of the world,” he said. “The images are not real and we need to get that across to the young people.
“When they get a friend request from a stranger who then progresses very quickly to sending inappropriate or sexual images, they should be thinking this a is scam straight away. Don’t fall into this trap.”
He said scammers have been using the tactic for several years now and have been targeting both boys and girls.
He had this advice for people who find themselves facing blackmail after sending intimate images.
“We would certainly ask them not to share their information, don’t pay any of the money and certainly look for help,” he said.
“You are not alone. Make sure to preserve the evidence. Don’t delete anything.
“It is really important to stop the communication with these people, block the number and report it to ourselves and we will be there to help them out.”
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