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Gardaí warn students of WhatsApp blackmail scam threatening to circulate intimate images

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Gardaí warn students of WhatsApp blackmail scam threatening to circulate intimate images

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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…

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