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Police warn sextortion cases are on the rise among kids

Click to play video: 'Police warn sextortion cases are on the rise among kids' Police warn sextortion cases are on the rise among kids
Police are warning of another scam that's circulating throughout the province - and this one often targets young people including kids. Mark Giunta reports – Jul 7, 2022

Police are warning that sextortion cases are on the rise across the province.

Peterborough Police have seen an uptick in cases this year especially in young people — even kids.

“Grade 6, grade 7 and grade 8 is the biggest trend we’ve seen an increase in this year,” const. Lauren Davis tells Global News Peterborough.

READ MORE: Parents warn of worldwide sextortion targeting teens

“We, as community services officers, deliver programming to grade 6s about social media and online safety.  We talk about sextortion specifically.  Based on the expressions and responses that we get, even in the grade 6 classes, we know it goes on.”

Police say scammers will contact the victim through social media, online dating sites or even online games and after asking for intimate images, then threaten to share those images with family, friends or contacts unless the victim pays them a sum of money.

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Click to play video: 'Child luring and sextortion cases online spike since start of pandemic' Child luring and sextortion cases online spike since start of pandemic
Child luring and sextortion cases online spike since start of pandemic – Mar 9, 2021

“Never send intimate images of yourself online, even if you know them.  Protect your passwords.  Never send money to anyone online,” added Peterborough County OPP const. Joe Ayotte.

“Whatever you put out there, can be used against you.”

“If it’s something you’re posting and you wouldn’t want a parent, grandparent or police officer seeing, don’t post it at all,” Davis said.

Other tips to protect yourself online include: covering web cameras when not in use, do not store sensitive images or information online or on your mobile device, use strong passwords and ensure that security settings for social media accounts are activated and set to the highest privacy levels.

READ MORE: The latest sextortion tactic, how to help your kids prevent and report it

Cybertip.ca is Canada’s tipline for reporting the online sexual abuse and exploitation of children.

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It’s reporting a 150 per cent increase in cases this year alone with an average of 57 cases per month. It states that 77 per cent of cases occurred on Instagram or Snapchat.

Police say while sextortion can happen to anyone of any age, it’s important for parents to have open conversations about it with their kids.

“As a parent, go through your child’s privacy settings on all of their social media accounts.  Make sure their location setting is shut off.  We’ve noticed many kids, who are using Snapchat, have their location set to ‘on’.  You don’t want that.  Only your parents should know where you are,” added Davis.

“Never add anyone to your social media accounts that you don’t know in person.  We’ve seen a big trend in youths that have thousands and thousands of contacts on social media and in reality they only know 50 to 80 of them in person.

“If you don’t know who they are, don’t add them.”

If a scammer contacts you, or if you’ve been defrauded, you’re asked to contact police or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre at 1-888-495-8501.

 

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