#CyberFLASH: OPP investigating 2 cases of sextortion

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Police are warning people not to be fooled into undressing or performing sexual acts in front of webcams, after two unrelated cases of sextortion using social media.

In each case, the victims — a teenager and an adult male — began a relationship with someone they met on a social media site, according to Renfrew OPP Const. Janice Sawbridge.

In one of the incidents, the suspect was able to access “intimate photos of a sexual nature” stored on the victim’s phone. The suspect threatened to forward the photos to the victim’s family and friends unless money was transferred to them through a money transfer service.

The second victim was coerced into performing a sexual act in front of a webcam. The suspect then advised the victim they had been videotaped and the tape would be sent to family members unless a sum of money was transferred to the suspect.

Sawbridge said police are continuing to investigate, but the suspects are not believed to be in Canada.

Rena Bivens, an assistant professor of the School of Journalism and Communication at Carleton University whose research area includes social media and sexual violence, said it’s hard to track the numbers of these types of incidents because victims are often too embarrassed to report them.

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