Winnipeg Police Press release–In the past year, the Winnipeg Police Service has received an increased number of reports involving “Sextortion Scams.”
Perpetrators use fake accounts and solicit their victims on various social media platforms. They may operate outside of Canada and “catfish” their victim by posing as an enticing individual who is young, attractive, or has similar interests. They will then cultivate an online relationship based on false trust and emotion. As this relationship grows, the victim is encouraged to share intimate photos with their online paramour (perpetrator).
In some cases, perpetrators use a more targeted approach and lurk in chat groups where people willingly post and live-stream sexually explicit materials of themselves.
Once the intimate images are shared, the sextortionist threatens to reveal your private life, sexual activity or intimate images if you do not provide them with monetary payment or sexual services.
The victim is held ransom when the perpetrator threatens to share their private images with the public unless they are paid off as requested.
Money transfers and prepaid gift cards are common payment requests used to blackmail their victims.
The Winnipeg Police Service and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection (C3P) cautions everyone, including children and teens to never share intimate images of yourself with anyone.
If you, or someone you know, is receiving sextortion threats, ask for help by calling the police non-emergency line 204-986-6222 or the additional resources below:
• NeedHelpNow.ca provides youth with the opportunity to reach out for help and with step-by-step instructions to assist with image removal if they don’t feel comfortable reaching out for help