Chatham-Kent police are warning the public about intimate encounters online after receiving several complaints about people falling victim to scams.
Men are typically targeted in this sort of scam, which begins when they are approached through Snapchat or Instagram, according to police.
"The female criminal reaches out to the male victim, they send intimate images or videos and ask the victim to do the same," police said in a statement. "Once the victim has sent the images or videos, the dialogue changes to aggressive demands for money."
Victims are being targeted not only through computers but through phones and gaming consoles, while in classrooms or other public places as well as in their own homes.
Police said the offender will threaten to send the images or videos to the victim's family, friends, or coworkers if the money is not sent, often resulting in the victim complying.
Most cases involve men being the victim, according to police. With young females, the male offenders reach out to them on social media and befriend them.
"Typically, males are extorted for money and females are extorted for images or videos that are more intimate," the statement read. "With young females, the male offenders reach out to them on social media and befriend them. The young girl believes that this person is their friend or boyfriend, so when they ask for an intimate image or video, she complies."
When it comes to what to do if you are being targeted, police said to immediately sign out and deactivate your social media account so the offenders won’t be able to communicate with you.
Another tip is to not delete your account and the images that have been shared.
This will help the police with their investigation. You can also save a copy of the images you sent, along with the offender’s profile.
If you believe that you are the victim of sextortion, please contact the police.