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Financial sextortion cases on the rise the last few years

Since 2020 and the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, financial sextortion cases have been on the rise globally.

Financial sextortion, according to authorities, is the act of individuals using various social media platforms to engage with kids and teenagers, trying to get them to expose themselves and then extorting them for money, whether it is physical money or gift cards.

Detective Dean Jacobs with ALERT – Southern Alberta Internet Child Exploitation Unit (ICE), says most of the suspects are coming from Nigeria and the Ivory Coast. In most cases, the victims are in their teen years, aged 10 to 17-years-old.

“For CSAM [Child Sexual Abuse Material], people want more pictures of girls, more videos of girls,” says Detective Jacobs. “For the financial sextortion, we’re finding it’s a lot of boys, high school aged, and junior high aged. I’d say anywhere between 10 and 17 years of age.”

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When it comes to ways to prevent and protect yourself from financial sextortion, Detective Jacobs says to not comply with the threat and report the threat to the social media platforms, report it to someone you trust, and do not give any money. He also recommends keeping everything, including all correspondence, all communication, and contact the police.

Jacobs mentions that even reporting it to the police but not wanting anything done criminally, like court for example, or don’t want people to know about it, that’s fine, just as long as police are being made aware so they can be aware it’s happening and have that intelligence.

For someone who may find themselves being a victim of financial sextortion, Jacobs says to tell someone right away.

“Parents, someone you trust, let them know right away,” says Jacobs. “Don’t comply with what the ask is, no matter how small it is, if it’s $5 or $100,000, do not comply with it at all.”

According to the ALERT website, studies show that one in three victims of sextortion don’t tell anyone, due to embarrassment or shame.

Written by: Laura Briggs – Vista Radio

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