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Fake 'talent scouts' duping young people to send photos of themselves on social media

Officers from PSNI’s Reactive and Organised Crime Department are encouraging local people to be cyber savvy.

POLICE IN NORTHERN Ireland are warning people about fake modelling agencies using social media to convince young people to send photos of themselves.

Detective Chief Inspector James Mullen said, “As a police service we’ve had reports from individuals who have fallen victim to blackmail conducted via social media.

We’re also being contacted by young men and women who have been duped into sending images and videos to fake modelling agencies and so called ‘talent scouts’ on various social media platforms.

It comes after a man appeared in court in Northern Ireland today accused of using a fake modelling agency to persuade women to commit sex acts.

Ryan Eastwood court case Source: Brian Lawless

Police said the man set up a Facebook account to contact women and interview them on Skype, according to the BBC.

The court heard that when police searched his devices, they found 17,500 images of women, most of which had been deleted but were still stored as thumbnails.

Inspector Mullen added, “My message today is simple – never post or send images to anyone via social media that you would not be happy to have viewed publicly, particularly nude or nearly nude images or videos – remember there is always a chance those images could be shared.

“Finally I would appeal directly to anyone who has had an online interaction that has made them uncomfortable, worried or troubled, to please tell police about it. Your local officers can be contacted any time 24/7 by calling 101. In an emergency police can be reached via 999.”

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