Cyber police are advising Hartlepool users of new mobile phone app Pokemon Go to be wary when choosing where to download the game.
As the new virtual reality gaming craze spreads across the world, police are advising would-be users to use official channels to subscribe.
Pokémon Go has only just been released in the UK yet but it has already proved a hit in the US, New Zealand and Australia with demand surging since its official release in those countries just days ago.
The mobile game requires players to use their smartphone’s GPS and camera to catch virtual Pokémon by visiting real world landmarks.
Children’s charity the NSPCC has said it is worried that offenders could target unsuspecting children by using the app’s geolocation feature.
Cybercrime officers are concerned that gamers who go through unofficial or third party channels to access the game risk their phones or devices being infected with malware or viruses.
Detective Sergeant Andy Richmond of Cleveland Police Cyber Crime Team said: “Many gamers will be impatient to get started with Pokémon Go and, due to the delay in its release here in the UK, they may be tempted to access it via unofficial or third parties.
“I would strongly advise people to consider carefully the source of their download and be aware of the risks this could pose.”
And police advise anyone who plans to subscribe to buy it through official app stores such as Google Play Store or the Apple Store.
A spokesman for Durham Police said: “We are not aware of any criminal activity surrounding Pokemon Go in County Durham and Darlington.
“Our general advice to people who are playing the game, or whose children may be playing it, is simple; be mindful of your surroundings.
“This includes staying safe crossing roads, not trespassing into private property and, of course, not putting yourself in physical danger to capture a Pokemon.”
For more information and advice on Pokemon Go, go to ww.getsafeonline.org/news/pokemon-go-what-you-need-to-know.