Detectives have issued a warning to Snapchat users after receiving reports private photos have been shared online without their knowledge or consent.
Cleveland Police has had reports of four incidents where photographs have been taken from the social media app and published without permission.
It says the victims in these cases are often teenagers who have either sent selfies to a new romantic contact or taken selfies of themselves in a state of undress to track weight loss or fitness progress.
Some photographs have been shared online without permission after a user has sent a picture to a friend or allowed a friend to take a picture, and this friend has then had their account hacked.
Cybercrime detectives are aware of websites and forums, often created in foreign countries, which are solely dedicated to the sharing of photographs of young men and women who have not agreed
On many occasions visitors to these websites specifically request photographs of people that they are interested in.
Some visitors are even challenged with obtaining photographs of targets using either deception or hacking techniques – which are simply guessing passwords.
Cyber Crime Police Constable Will Galloway said: “When you allow someone to take your photograph of you or share a photograph of you with someone else, you are entrusting an image of yourself to them.
"Their account may not be secure enough to keep photographs safe and they may share the image without your permission.
“People should remember that once something is online, it’s almost impossible to delete all traces of it.
"I would urge internet users to make sure that they have strong passwords to protect accounts and photographs.”
More information about building strong passwords can be found in this video by Get Safe Online https://vimeo.com/221408897