Gardaí warn of scam involving "inappropriate or sexual images" after young boy blackmailed for money 3 weeks ago

Gardaí warn of scam involving "inappropriate or sexual images" after young boy blackmailed for money

"It's a complete and utter scam."

Gardaí have issued a warning to the public about a new sexual image scam after it emerged that a teenage boy was blackmailed for money.

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Speaking to Newstalk on Wednesday, Garda Crime Prevention Officer Sergeant Dean Kerins said the perpetrators of the scam are often "living in a different part of the world" and sending images that are "not real".

"We need to get that across to the young people," he continued.

“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.”

Kerins added that the scam, which is targeting teenage boys and girls, "happens very quickly" and often "starts off innocently".

“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.

"It's a complete and utter scam."

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He said that the scam has been going on for a "number of years", with EUROPOL bringing it to their attention a while back.

Gardaí are encouraging anyone who has been targeted by these groups to not pay the money or share any information, block the number and report it and seek help immediately.

“You are not alone," he said.

"Make sure to preserve the evidence and don’t delete anything."