VicPD warns parents and caregivers to be vigilant with the online activity of the children in their care.
Police say they continue to investigate a “disturbing rise in online sexual extortion” which has been primarily targeting teenage boys and young men.
According to VicPD, boys as young as 13 and 14-years-old have been recent victims in Victoria and Esquimalt.
Sextortion has become a sophisticated cybercrime in which victims are contacted through online forums and social media channels such as Instagram and Snapchat.
Perpetrators will pose as young women and teen girls claiming to be interested in a sexual relationship to target their victims.
Police say they will request intimate photographs and videos of their victims and once they have them, perpetrators will threaten to share the content with their school, peers, family and friends.
Victims will be asked to pay money in order for the perpetrators to not share the content.
Police say that young women and teen girls are also targeted, but nearly two-thirds of the 27 sexual extortion files that VicPD investigated in 2022 targeted boys and young men.
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection found that among increasing sextortion crimes being reported, 92% involved young men and boys.
Investigators say they believe many more sextortion incidents occurred that have gone unreported due to the sensitive nature of the crimes.
“The psychological and social impacts on teens and young men and women who are preyed on in sextortion is often significant,” Chief Del Manak said.
“Sextortion is a crime. The impacts on teens, young men & women preyed on is significant. I know it can feel awkward or uncomfortable, but talking to a trusted adult, whether a parent, teacher or VicPD officer can be the first step in stopping it." – @ChiefManak
— Victoria Police (@vicpdcanada) January 23, 2023
VicPD have provided the following list of what parents and caretakers’ should speak to their children about so they can be mindful and aware of these types of crimes:
- Sextortion is targeting teen boys and young men both in Victoria and Esquimalt
- The professional cybercriminals who engage in sextortion are skilled at deception and manipulation
- If you are experiencing sextortion, talking with a trusted adult will help
- Sextortion is a crime. Officers will listen to your story and will not judge you
- Never comply with the threat – it often makes the situation worse and leads to additional demands
Police say they want to make parents and caretakers aware of a website that contains excellent resources to help avoid being ‘sextorted’ online.
The following video was created by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection in order to help teens not become victims of this type of crime.