#CyberFLASH: Red Deer men targeted by sextortion scam

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RCMP are investigating an extortion scam after two Red Deer men were “lured into compromising online encounters” by strangers on the internet.

Police say both victims were approached online in October by women.

The women lured the men over the internet “and then threatened to post the images online unless they were paid by their victims,” Red Deer RCMP said in a news release Wednesday.

Neither victim was defrauded of money, police said. In both cases, the women halted communication with their targets after the men informed them they were reporting them to police.

RCMP suspect there may be even more cases of this type of extortion happening in the community, but victims “may be too embarrassed to report it.”

Furthermore, investigators say these online profiles are usually fake and the scammers live in different countries, making prosecution impossible.

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#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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#CyberFLASH: Police brief teens, parents on sextortion

1297516661469_ORIGINALThe Cyber Crime Unit of the Greater Sudbury Police Service has passed on an warning from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection regarding offenders recording teenagers exposing themselves on live streaming videos, then threatening to release the video if money is not paid – a practice known as sextortion, which appears to be becoming more widespread.

The Canadian Centre for Child Protection strongly encourages parents to discuss online safety with their teens and most importantly, convince their children to come forward if they or their peers are victims of sextortion.

Teens need to understand that they should never comply with threats, as this only makes the situation worse.

Parents are strongly encouraged to have regular conversations with their teens around online safety.

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