DUTCHESS COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) is investigating several cases of social media scammers trying to illicit explicit pictures from children online. The DCSO is saying these instances have happened over the past week.

The DCSO says that the scammers will befriend a child on social media, posing as someone their age, then ask the child to share explicit photos of themselves. The scammers allegedly then blackmail the child, saying the photos will be shared or posted if they do not pay them not to do so. The DCSO says the scammers will ask for payment in gift cards primarily. The sheriff’s office says they’ve had one case where the scammer actually did post explicit photos of a child after not receiving payment.

If you or anyone you know is a victim of these scammers, you are urged to call Detective Cohen at (845) 486-3820, email jcohen@dutchessny.gov, or call the tipline at (845) 605-2583. All information will be kept confidential. The sheriff’s office is asking parents and caregivers to make their children aware of these scams and take proper caution to avoid them falling suspect to the scam.