Gardaí warn students of WhatsApp blackmail scam threatening to circulate intimate images | #whatsapp | #lovescams | #phonescams

Gardaí have urged people not to engage with the sender of a damaging social media scam targeting secondary school students which threatens to circulate fake intimate photographs.

The scam, circulating via a WhatsApp message and impacting pupils in schools around the country, attempts to blackmail unsuspecting victims by claiming it will share the images online.

Garda John Finnerty, of Henry Street Garda Station in Limerick City, advised smartphone users that if they receive such a message to report it to gardaí, who will try to locate the sender.

“This pertains to some students receiving inappropriate WhatsApp messages from an unknown number or from an unknown account on social media. The message says that the sender has inappropriate photos of the student,” explained Garda Finnerty.

“The sender may send photos which have been doctored to appear to show the student, [however], the photo of the student may have been lifted from a social media account such as Instagram.” 

The student is then told to pay money to the sender or the sender will send the photo to everyone on their Instagram account. In effect, the student is being threatened with blackmail.”

Gardaí are advising students and parents to be vigilant and said there were a number of options available to the receiver of such a message to avoid being taken in or upset by the scam.

Garda Finnerty said that if a student does receive such a message they should “not respond to it and do not arrange to pay money to the scammer”.

“Tell your parents or guardians and the school, report the matter to the gardaí, and screenshot any message that you receive, then delete the message immediately and block unknown numbers.” 

“If you do receive photos from an unknown source showing a friend in a compromising situation follow the same guidelines that I have just outlined.”

Gardaí say that anyone who does pay the money will, more than likely face further demands and, potentially the image will still be shared anyway.

Coco’s Law, which was brought in last year, created new offences criminalising the non-consensual distribution of intimate images.

It set applicable penalties at up to an unlimited fine and/or seven years imprisonment.

Click Here For The Original Source.

. . . . . . .