ONLINE dating site members are falling victim to horrendous blackmail threats, data released by West Yorkshire Police reveals.

The figures have been released through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the force and show sextortion - the threat of having sexual information, images or clips shared unless the victim hands over money - is on the rise.

In 2019, just five blackmail offences involving online dating sites were recorded. This rose to 13 in 2020 and 15 in 2021.

Almost 80 per cent of those recorded offences were committed on Tinder, while all of 2021’s offences involved the platform.

The FOI reveals the harrowing experiences of victims, putting the spotlight on the deep emotional and psychological toll of sextortion.

The incidents follow a similar pattern and the threat of intimate images and videos being shared with friends and family is often used.

In one incident, a victim was talking to the suspect on Tinder and gave out his Facebook profile, phone number and where he worked.

The pair video called and the victim masturbated on screen only to be videoed by the suspect, who demanded £100 and threatened to send the video to family and friends.

Other incidents show large amounts of money are often demanded.

The FOI details one incident where the victim was on Tinder and believed they were speaking to a female. The conversation moved over to Instagram and WhatsApp and in a video call, the victim exposed his penis.

The suspect then threatened to share the photographs unless £3,000 was paid.

In another, the victim and suspect were talking on Tinder. The suspect then logged into the victim’s Snapchat account and posted an intimate video, demanding £1,500 for it to be taken down.

Another report details how a victim was left “embarrassed and distressed” when after masturbating on a video call to an unknown person, they received a demand to pay £1,000 or the video would be sent to their friends.

Demands for money are not always made and instead involve demands of further sex acts.

A West Yorkshire Police spokesperson said: “Anyone using an online dating app or website should be wary about what information they share on it.

“West Yorkshire Police is unequivocal in its commitment to keeping people safe and works with partners to identify and take action against those who use such apps and websites to commit crime.

“It is also committed to raising awareness of cybercrime and how it can be prevented, so that fewer people become victims.”

Anyone with concerns about their safety is urged to report them to the police.

A spokesperson for Tinder said: "Catfishing, impersonation and blackmailing are violations of our community guidelines and members who do this are removed from our app.

"With our photo verification programme we suggest members look for the 'blue tick' next to a member's profile image so they can be assured that the image is genuine and has been approved by Tinder.

"Additionally, there's Tinder's safety centre - a dedicated space in-app that houses tools and resources to help keep members safe while dating. 

"We ask that any member that has experienced any violation to report it to Tinder either in app or online."