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Rise in reports of online sextortion of youth for money in Saskatchewan

More reports are being made to Saskatchewan RCMP of online sextortion of youth for money.

Financial sextortion is a form of blackmail that involves someone online threatening to send a sexual image or video of the victim to other people if they are not paid, say police.

Multiple reports of a scam targeting youths of all genders between the ages of 13-16 have been reported to police. Victims were approached by individuals who identified as females of a similar age online or through apps targeting teenage audiences. Then the victims were asked for their Instagram username and to exchange intimate photos.

“What we want victims of any age to know, is that they are not to blame, they will not get in trouble for reporting it, and most importantly there is life after something like this happens,” says Staff Sgt. Scott Lambie of the Saskatchewan RCMP Major Crimes Branch.

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“There are people and resources available to help you and there are tools that exist to remove the images online. If you feel comfortable, reach out to your local police detachment or get more information at Cybertip.ca – and remember, you are not alone,” added Lambie

Below are a few tips to help keep both adults and children safe online:

  • Never answer messages or friend/follow requests from people you don’t know
  • Do not send photos of any kind to people you don’t know
  • Always answer video calls with the camera turned off until you know who the person calling is.

If you or your child have been targeted, please do the following:

  • Report it to your local police or online via cybertip.ca
  • Immediately stop all communication with the suspect
  • Ensure that you and/or your child do not comply with the threat
  • Keep any correspondence between you or your child and the suspect
  • Remember that you are not alone

In the 2022-2023 fiscal year, the Saskatchewan RCMP’s Internet Child Exploitation unit responded to 931 cases, in 2023-2024 that number is expected to surpass 1,000.

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