A teenage boy was left 'scared' that he put his 'family in danger' after falling victim to sextortion.

A Renfrewshire mother has revealed her son had become a victim of sextortion.

The youngster called the police after receiving threats to pay up or have indecent pictures of him shared publicly. 

Sextortion is when someone is blackmailed that intimate and indecent images of them will be shared unless money is paid.

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Criminals use friendship apps, dating apps, and more to talk to people, get intimate pictures and then switch from being nice to nasty and demand cash.

The woman revealed her teenage son was left 'scared' that he 'ruined his own life' following the situation.

The mum - who has remained anonymous - said: “My son was scared that he’d put our family in danger and ruined his own life.

"He thought he would be in trouble for going online at night and for pretending to be older.

"He knew these were things he shouldn’t do because I had spoken to him many times about the dangers of talking to strangers online.

“Both of us were in shock and we felt fear, shame, and guilt.

"He felt he’d done something very bad, and I felt I’d failed to protect him.

"But we are not to blame.

“The police were very helpful and they explained that online grooming of children and ‘sextortion’ is becoming increasingly common as organised crime groups use social media apps and websites to target kids and frighten them into sending money.”

Now, Renfrewshire Council is urging young people to be vigilant of sextortion and online blackmail.

According to the local authority, incidents of the crimes are on the rise - with the UK National Crime Agency also issuing a warning of the increased risk of online sextortion.

Police Scotland have also issued advice for youngsters, their parents, and carers on how to keep themselves safe online.

Detective Superintendent Alan Paterson said: “Sextortion is blackmail and those targeted should not pay, nor should they be embarrassed or scared to report it to police.

“We are experiencing an increase in the number of sextortion incidents being reported and although we are encouraged that victims appear more confident in coming forward, we know from our partners that it is still likely to be an under-reported offence.

“Criminals use the internet, social media, dating apps, webcams or pornography sites and fake identities to befriend people online and then threaten to send images to their family and friends.

“People shouldn’t panic. There is support available from policing and from third-party organisations.

"We want people to know they will be treated with respect and dignity and the circumstances investigated professionally.

“There is information available on the Police Scotland website on ways you can stay safe online - such as not sharing intimate images.”

Anyone who wishes to report a crime can contact Police on 101, however, in the case of an emergency you can call 999.

Anyone who is being blackmailed or ‘sextorted’ is urged to report it.