POLICE have advised Barnsley residents to be wary of online scams and are advising people on how to stay safe.

This comes after a recent rise in reports where people have been targeted through social media.

It is believed that offenders have created fake accounts with the intention to persuade others to send over explicit images which will be held at ransom in order to obtain money from their victims.

Reports suggest offenders are targeting people at random.

Cyber protect officer, Natalie Garrett, said: “We understand that people may be feeling humiliated and afraid as a result of these incidents, however, we encourage anyone who may have fallen victim to report this to us, so that we can investigate it and support you.

“These offenders will not stop once you have sent the money over – they will keep demanding more and more money from you.

“Ultimately, by making these payments it doesn’t mean the images or videos will disappear.

“We urge you not to make any ransom payments and instead, report this to us so that we can help.

“There is no judgement here – we simply want to avoid any further people falling victim to these relentless offenders and ensure that you are supported in the right way.”