Officers are asking people to be vigilant after a concerning number of blackmail/sextortion incidents via social media and are asking parents and guardians to be aware of the issue, and to raise any concerns with police.
Sextortion is the practice of extorting money or sexual favours from someone by threatening to reveal evidence of their sexual activity.
Cleveland Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT) have seen a number of reports relating to the blackmail/sextortion of teenage males on social media and believe that some of those responsible could be based outside of the UK.
Whilst enquiries are ongoing into these reports, officers would ask parents to remain vigilant and raise concerns with them.
Detective Sergeant Kevin Carter said: “The threats and demands made in cases like these can be distressing and we are working closely with partners to respond to these reports and safeguard those at risk.
“I would ask children, parents, carers, and safeguarding leads to be extra vigilant, and I encourage anyone with concerns to contact Cleveland Police."
Anyone who may be concerned can contact Cleveland Police on 101. To report a crime please call 101, or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.