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Young men warned of ‘sextortion’ scam

YOUNG people in Fermanagh, particularly teenage boys, have been warned never to share intimate photos or videos of themselves online after reports of local youths being targeted in what are known as a “sextortion” scams.
Fermanagh PSNI have said it is continuing to get reports of “young males being blackmailed after intimate images of them are captured online.”
This type of blackmail can have the most serious of consequences. In 2015 Tyrone schoolboy Ronan Hughes took his own life after being tricked into sharing intimate photos of himself online.
Some of the pictures were sent to the 17-year-old’s friends after he didn’t pay a ransom.
A Romanian man was later convicted and jailed in his home country on blackmail charges.
Speaking of the recent local reports, a police spokesman said: “The blackmailers will generally approach a victim on a social networking app, under an assumed identity, to build up a rapport before encouraging them to take a video call.
“The scammer will appear as a female, in most cases, and will encourage the victim to undress or share an intimate image.
“Once the image is captured from the video call as a screenshot the blackmailer will demand money and threaten to share the images online.”
The spokesman added: “It is vitally important we raise awareness of this type of crime to prevent further people falling victim.
“Be careful about who you speak to online. Remember that not everyone may be who they claim to be. Never share intimate images of yourself, whether you age on a video call or conversing online.
“Parents and guardians, speak to your teenagers and make them aware of the dangers online.”
The PSNI have further information and advice on its webpage in the category “sextortion.”

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The Fermanagh Herald is published by North West of Ireland Printing & Publishing Company Limited, trading as North-West News Group.
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