Police warn of increased sextortion cases
2023-01-06 07:56 PST
File # Public Service Announcement
Coquitlam RCMP is warning the public of a recent increase of sextortion cases.
In recent months, Police have been receiving a large number of money-motivated sextortion reports where youth boys and girls are being targeted. According to Cybertip!ca, there has been an 150% increase in youth being sextorted between December 2021 and May 2022.
Cybertip!ca is a Canadian tip line for reporting online sexual abuse and exploitation of children. Visit Cybertip!ca for more information.
In these incidents, a suspect often begins a flirtatious online relation with the victim. Once the relationship has been established, the suspect convinces the victim to engage in sexually explicit activities, such as sending a nude photo or videos of themselves. Once received, the suspect threatens to distribute the photos or videos to the victim’s family and friends unless payment is received.
These highly-sophisticated and well-organized criminals use the nude images or videos to threaten, intimate and coerce the victim, who is most often a child or youth, into sending the suspect’s cash or gifts cards.
The suspects rely on the fear and shame in order to extort anything they can from the victim who may be too afraid to seek help, said Media Relations Officer, Corporal Alexa Hodgins.
When youth are involved, they are often to afraid to speak to their parents and attempt to deal with the extortion themselves. We want those victims to know that it’s okay to ask for help by speaking with an adult.
The suspects use techniques to protect their identity and do not always reside within Canada, which makes it difficult to investigate and prosecute. Coquitlam RCMP are encouraging the public to use safe social media practices and to refrain from sharing nude or personal sensitive images and videos online. Parents and/or guardians should closely monitor their children’s social media usage.
Tips for parents:
Be open about online behaviour
- Place computers in busy family areas, work with your child to ensure that they behave safety online from a young age and teach your child to treat life online as they would their regular life.
Monitor your children’s online activities regularly
- Search your child’s name using popular search engines, blogs and social network platforms to see what comes up on their public record
Be aware of mobile applications
- Some social media application is not suitable for all children. Many applications have age limits in order to download. It’s important to keep this in mind.
For more information visit the BC RCMP website for Internet Safety Tips for Parents.
Tips for children
Think before you share
- It is difficult to remove information once it’s shared. Even though a smartphone app may advertise what you send will
disappearin a few seconds, content can still be screen captured to make it last forever.
Be socially responsible
- Speak up and do the right thing. If you see something you don’t agree with, like cyberbullying, harassment or threats, tell a trusted adult for advice or help.
If you have disclosed an intimate image, nude photo or video and it was shared without your consent, know that it is not your fault
- Please tell a trusted adult who can help you
- Please contact your local police agency. We will investigate without judgement
Do not send money online
- Do not send money to anyone online, and especially anyone you do not know. Please contact your local police agency and we will help you – without judgement
Protect your privacy online
- Only accept friend requests from people you know, only share images that you would be okay sharing with your parents and never send an intimate photo or video if asked.
For more information visit the BC RCMP website for Internet Safety Tips for Teens.
If you have been a victim or suspect someone may be trying to extort you, contact your local police.
For more useful links and tips, please visit:
- Government of Canada - Child Sexual exploitation on the internet
- Government of Canada – Online Child Sexual Exploitation
- Canadian Centre for Child Protection
- One Child
Cpl. Alexa HodginsMedia Relations Officer
coquitlam.rcmp-grc.gc.ca (English only)
2986 Guildford Way, Coquitlam, B.C V3B 7Y5
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