Kamloops Mounties are warning the public about an increase in so-called “sextortion” scams — incidents in which people are blackmailed after sharing nude or intimate photos.
Police said six such cases have been reported in the city in the last month, involving adults and youths. There is no evidence to suggest the incidents are related.
“In many of these cases, the fraudster will make contact with the victim via social media and convince them to send a sexual image or perform a sexual act they may be secretly recording,” Kamloops RCMP Const. Phil Whiles, a sex crime investigator at the local detachment, said in a news release.
“The fraudster then threatens to send the content to others unless the victim sends them money or more content.”
Whiles said it’s concerning to see teenagers targeted in such a way. He encouraged parents to talk to kids about the dangers of sextortion and its potential consequences.
“We understand it may be uncomfortable for some adults to discuss with their teenagers, but it’s an important discussion to have in order to help prevent the discomfort and fear that can follow after the images have already been sent,” he said.
“If it does happen, they need to know they can go to a safe, trusted adult to report.”
Police offered these tips:
Keep yourself safe online
• Think before you post – information is instant, public, and permanent;
• Do not accept friend requests on social media from unknown people;
• Do not share or send intimate images of yourself with anyone – if you aren’t okay with the whole world seeing it, do not send it;
• Use privacy settings on social media and keep personal information to a minimum;
• Trust your instincts, if anything about an interaction makes you feel uncomfortable, end the conversation immediately.
• Be open about online behaviour, place computers in busy family areas;
• Make online activity part of your regular conversations
• Encourage your teen to take breaks away from devices;
• Work with your children on how to behave safely online from a young age;
What to do if you are victim
• Stop communicating with the person immediately;
• Do not comply with the threat, do not send money or additional images