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Rise in sextortion crime prompts warning in Lewes and Seahaven

Authorities in Lewes and Seahaven are raising alarms over a dramatic spike in sextortion scams that seem to predominantly target victims aged 16-22 years.

The modus operandi involves the victim coming into contact with a seemingly friendly individual online, often in chat rooms. This virtual acquaintance, who can present as either male or female, often lures the victim into a false sense of security under the guise of mutual flirtation.

After establishing trust, the alleged “friend” typically shares their Instagram details and gradually persuades the victim to send nude or sexually explicit images. Once the images are in their possession, the perpetrator threatens to share them widely among the victim’s contacts and on public platforms, unless they receive a payment.

Payments typically range from £200 to £600, and are usually requested via PayPal, vouchers, or even Bitcoin. In instances where victims express financial constraints, the extortionist may reduce the amount or even offer payment plans.

In light of this concerning trend, Neighbourhood Schools Liaison Officers have intensified their outreach efforts, holding educational sessions in schools to warn students against sharing explicit content online. Authorities also strongly urge parents and guardians to proactively discuss these dangers with youngsters in their care.

The NSPCC, a leading children’s charity, offers a comprehensive library of resources tailored for parents and guardians, providing guidance on initiating conversations about such sensitive topics.

Residents are encouraged to remain vigilant and report any suspicious activity or encounters. Those in need of assistance or more information on this issue can find support on the official Lewes Police website.

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