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UK issues alert as global sextortion scams double


April 30, 2024

An unprecedented alert on sextortion scams targeting teenagers has been sent out to British teachers after the number of reported cases doubled in a year.

Sextortion is blackmail where criminals threaten to release nude or semi-nude photos of someone, either real or fake, unless the victim pays them.

Officials at the United Kingdom’s National Crime Agency (NCA) issued the warning today, highlighting that the number of global cases reported to the U.S. National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children has doubled from 10,731 in 2022 to 26,718 in 2023, with a large proportion of victims being boys aged between 14 and 18 years.

Gangs based in some West African countries and South-East Asia were targeting young people overseas, especially in English-speaking countries such as the UK, U.S., Australia, New Zealand and Canada, and encouraging their victims to share intimate images.