North Vancouver RCMP is warning both teens and adults to be aware of ongoing online sexual extortions, while also excouraging parents to talk with their children about the dangers of these scams.
Officers from the detachment’s Youth Intervention Unit will be working with the North Vancouver school district on presentations about online social extortions and the dangers associated.
Const. Mansoor Sahak said that sextortion scams that are reported generally involve victims being coerced into sending money or sending sexually explicit images or videos of themselves. Those scams can take as little as 20 minutes.
“Commonly, males are targeted and deceived into believing they are communicating online with a female. Scammers create fake profiles on social media and dating websites, which they use to lure a person into performing sexual acts on camera.”
Sahak said the scammer records the session and will then threaten to the image or video to family, friends or others unless they receive money from the victim or additional sexual content.
He added the offenders will often share screen captures of the victim’s contacts or identifying information, such as their school or home address, so that the threat appears more credible. The victim is then scared into following through with the request.
RCMP say if you’re a victim of sexual extortion, immediately stop all communication and to deactivate – but don’t delete – any of the accounts you were communicating on. Then make a police report.
Police say to keep the correspondence and information such as the person’s username, account information and any images or videos that were sent. Don’t comply with the threat, but if you have sent money, check to see if it’s been collected. If it hasn’t, cancel the payment.
When it comes to protecting yourself, RCMP say:
• Recognize that livestreaming can be recorded and pre-recorded video can be livestreamed
• Do not share intimate images or videos since you don’t have control over what someone else does with it
• Familiarize yourself with social media privacy settings and consider limiting who has access to your information
• Unless you know the person online, there is no what to confirm who is on the other end
• On the internet, don’t give out personal information or information about your computer
• Don’t open emails, files or links from people you don’t know or trust