Are you being pressured to send money to a stranger? Do you now live in fear of having intimate images or videos sent to all your Facebook ‘friends’? Are you feeling pressured to purchase one more gift card to avoid having your WeChat messages exposed? If you are, you are not alone.
Infographic - Don't take that photo.
What is sextortion?
Sextortion is a form of exploitation that involves the threat of releasing shared intimate videos, images, or explicit messages online.
What is a typical scenario?
Typically, these sextortion cases involve a male victim who receives an unsolicited friend request via Facebook or WeChat from an account that indicates it is from a female. The man engages in conversation with the
woman until it becomes intimate. The woman then asks the man to have a private Skype or WeChat session where the man is asked to engage in online sexual activity including nudity and masturbation.
woman then ends the session and tells the victim they have been videotaped. The suspect threatens to release the video to the victim’s Facebook friends or post the video to YouTube unless money is sent.
The reported incidents and social media platforms used may differ, but the results are usually the same – payments were made to avoid having nude or compromising photos or videos of sexual acts being released publicly.
What are the consequences?
The perpetrators demand money ranging from several hundreds to several thousands of dollars per victim. These exchanges have occurred on all popular social media platforms. Payments are made via Moneygram, Western Union, or iTunes card payments to either the Philippines or a number of other countries, including the Ivory Coast and Nigeria. These incidents can cause great emotional distress to the victims.
Police are also urging the public to consider the following safety tips to ensure they don’t become a victim of sextortion.
- Don’t accept ‘friend’ requests from strangers
- Don’t comply with any threat
- Stop all forms of communication with the individual
- Deactivate all accounts used to communicate with the individual
- Report the incident to police
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