Police warn against sharing images online after spate of 'sextortion' attempts in Kamloops, B.C., area

·2 min read
Kamloops RCMP have issued a public warning after at least six people, including teenagers, fell victim to blackmail after sharing intimate images online. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Kamloops RCMP have issued a public warning after at least six people, including teenagers, fell victim to blackmail after sharing intimate images online. (Jonathan Hayward/The Canadian Press - image credit)

RCMP in Kamloops, B.C., are again warning the public about the dangers of sharing nude photos via text or social media following several recent reports of "sextortion" attempts in the area.

In the last month, police have investigated at least six reports of people, including teenagers, who shared intimate images online and were then blackmailed for money, according to an RCMP statement Monday.

Though police said there is no evidence to suggest the incidents are related, the cases share some similarities.

"The fraudster will make contact with the victim via social media and convince them to send a sexual image or perform a sexual act they may be secretly recording," wrote sex crimes investigator Const. Phil Whiles.

The fraudster then threatens to send the content to others unless the victim sends them money, or more content, Whiles said.

He added that some of these reports involve teenagers, so police are encouraging adults to talk to their children about the dangers of so-called sextortion and the potential consequences of their kids' online behaviour.

"We understand it may be uncomfortable for some adults to discuss with their teenagers, but it's an important discussion to have in order to help prevent the discomfort and fear that can follow after the images have already been sent," Whiles said.

The RCMP gave the following advice:

Think before you post

  • Do not share or send intimate images of yourself digitally.

  • Be aware digital information is instant, public and permanent.

  • Do not accept friend requests on social media from unknown people.

  • Use privacy settings on social media and keep personal information to a minimum.

  • Trust your instincts. If anything about an interaction makes you feel uncomfortable, end the conversation immediately.

Talk to your kids

  • Be open about online behaviour.

  • Place computers in busy family areas.

  • Make online activity part of your regular conversations.

  • Encourage your teen to take breaks away from digital devices.

  • Work with your children on how to behave safely online from a young age.

RCMP are asking anyone who is being blackmailed after sharing nude or sexual images of themselves online to immediately stop communicating with that person and contact local police.

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