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Kamloops Mounties warn parents and teens after surge in 'sextortion' cases

Mounties in Kamloops are warning families about the dangers of sharing intimate images online after a recent surge in so-called “sextortion” cases.

The RCMP said there have been at least six cases in the last month involving adults and teens.

The victims in the cases shared explicit images of themselves online and were then blackmailed by criminals who threatened to release the pictures.

Police said there is no evidence to suggest the individual cases are linked.

<who> Photo credit: 123RF

“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,” said Cst. Phil Whiles, a Kamloops RCMP Sex Crimes Investigator.

“The fraudster then threatens to send the content to others unless the victim sends them money or more content.”

Police are urging parents to speak to their kids about the dangers of sextortion.

“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,” Cst. Whiles added.

“If it does happen, they need to know they can go to a safe, trusted adult to report.”

The RCMP provided a guide designed to help children and their parents stay safe online:

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.

Parents

  • 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, doing so will not fix the

More can be found at needhelpnow.ca or cybertip.ca.



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