Police are warning people of the dangers of sextortion

This month, police have received reports of several different teenagers in West Sussex, who were being blackmailed after sharing intimate videos with someone they started speaking to on Instagram.

Police are warning of sextortion and the dangers associated with interacting with someone you don’t know online after receiving reports of three similar cases in Sussex.

Sextortion is a form of blackmail where a perpetrator threatens to reveal intimate images of the victim online unless they give in to their demands. These demands are typically for money or further images.

Criminals might befriend victims online by using a fake identity and then persuade them to perform sexual acts in front of their webcam.  Criminals will then threaten to share the images with the victims’ friends and family which can make the victims feel embarrassed and ashamed, and prevent them from coming forward to report the incident.

The police received different reports of West Sussex teenagers being blackmailed. 

The suspect demanded thousands of pounds and threatened to share the videos with their contacts.

Thankfully the victims did not pay money and contacted the police.

The victims in these cases were young men aged 15-20 years.

DC 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 based overseas.

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

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