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An ongoing criminal investigation by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) centre wants to hear from anybody who thinks they have been targeted by someone who has used an instant messenger service to sexually abuse children.|
The investigation has been coordinated by CEOP, working with authorities in the UK and other law enforcement agencies around the world.
It has resulted in the arrest and detention of an individual in Kuwait for the suspected sexual abuse of children.
CEOP believes this activity has been going on since 2008, and now wants to provide any as yet unidentified victims the opportunity to seek appropriate advice and support.
West Yorkshire Police contacted the CEOP Centre in March 2011 regarding a suspect who had targeted a young girl online. Police enquiries established a number of victims who described performing sexual acts online, which has resulted in a number of UK police forces now being involved.
In general, the offender's method has been to use an instant messenger service and pretend to be a friend of the targeted a victim. During subsequent conversations, the offender directed victims to an internet link. When clicking on this link, victims were asked to provide their email account(s) and password(s), allowing the offender to take control of their login information. The offender was then able to take control of and hack of the victims' accounts, changing their passwords and security information.
The offender would then inform the victims' that their account had been hacked and they no longer had control of it. The offender continued the threats, saying that personal information about them would be sent to friends and family on the internet, unless they continued to perform sexual acts via the webcam.
Children and young people who think they may have been targeted are being encouraged to call an NSPCC helpline on the number 0800 614 458.
Here they can speak to specialist NSPCC staff, all of whom are fully briefed in relation to the investigation.
If you think you or a friend has been a victim of the above crime, or wish to discuss any related concerns in greater detail, please ring the NSPCC special helpline number: 0800 614 458.
Your call will be answered by a fully briefed NSPCC helpline officer, who will be able to offer you the appropriate advice and support. Information shared will be treated confidentially, unless there is anything to suggest a child is at risk of harm.