DENVER (KDVR) — Police in Westminster sent out a warning to the community about what it called “sextortion” scammers who are targeting children and claiming to be law enforcement.

Police said that, in these cases, victims will interact with someone online and eventually share an explicit image, usually by being deceived or coerced.

After this, the scammers, while impersonating law enforcement, will tell the victims that they have to send money in order to get out of the situation.

“As a reminder, police will never ask for any type of payment,” Westminster PD said.

Police said some of the scammers have used the names of Westminster PD and other local officers in these scams.

Westminster PD provided a list of common tactics that predators use against victims to look out for:

  • Develop a false rapport with the victim
  • Secretly record explicit videos and messages during chats
  • Use multiple identities to contact the victim
  • Pretend to be younger or a member of the opposite sex
  • Hack accounts to steal explicit images of the victim
  • Threaten self-harm if the victim refuses to send explicit images
  • Visit public social media pages of the victims to find out more information or search for information that might harm the victim’s reputation

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children has an online service that allows the public to report suspected child sexual exploitation.

Additionally, NCMEC can help get images of victims taken down using its Take It Down service.

Specifically, the service helps remove inappropriate images of minors from the internet.