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Garda Warning Limerick students targeted by 'intimate images' blackmail scam on WhatsApp

The sender claims to have “intimate” photos of the student, using doctored images of the recipient’s face

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Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Photograph: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

Gardaí have issued a warning after students in Limerick were targeted by a WhatsApp “blackmail” scam involving “intimate images.”

Teenagers have been receiving inappropriate messages from users of the platform from an unknown phone number and through social media accounts, according to Garda John Finnerty of Henry Street Garda Station.

Garda Finnerty said that the sender claims to have “intimate” photos of the student, using doctored images of the recipient’s face which appear to show them in compromising positions.

The pictures of the teenagers’ faces may have been lifted from social media platforms such as Instagram.

“The student is then told to pay money to the sender or the sender will send the photo to everyone in their Instagram account. In effect the student is being threatened with blackmail,” the officer told the Limerick Leader.#

If a student does receive one of these messages, they are advised to report the incident, ignore the sender and, under no circumstance, send them money.

“We would advise students who receive such messages to speak with parents or guardians, bring it to the attention of school or college authorities and report the matter to their local Gardaí,” a garda spokesperson said.

“Take a screenshot any message that you receive, then delete the message immediately and block unknown numbers.”

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