South Simcoe Police have issued a sextortion scam alert after a youth was targetted but refused to pay the scammer and instead contacted police.
In many sextortion cases, fake profiles are created on social media and dating websites designed to coerce victims into performing sexual acts on camera. The scammer records it, then threatens to send it to others unless a payment is made.
Cybertip.ca, a national tipline for reporting online child sexual abuse, saw a 120 per cent increase in reports of online luring between January and June, and is now seeing 300 online extortion cases a month.
And the number of people being targeted may be higher, since many victims don’t report it out of a sense of embarrassment or shame.
Here are some tips on how to protect yourself:
- Don’t accept social media friend requests from strangers
- Never share intimate images or videos online
- Never send money to someone you haven’t met
- Recognize that live-streaming can be recorded and that pre-recorded video can be live-streamed
- Familiarize yourself with social media privacy settings and consider limiting who has access to your personal information (i.e. friends list, location)
- Trust your instincts, be skeptical and cautious
- Visit Cypertip.ca to learn more about sextortion: https://www.cybertip.ca/en/
South Simcoe Police urge parents and guardians to talk to their children about online safety and the dangers of communicating with strangers. If a sextortion occurs, children should immediately tell an adult and report the incident to police. These scammers rely on fear and shame to extort children who may be too afraid or humiliated to disclose what happened. Remind children that they are not alone. Help is available.
- with files from The Canadian Press
banner image: The Canadian Press