Thunder Bay Police Service Reports Increase in Sextortion Complaints, Issues Online Safety Reminders

Ten ways to protect yourself from cybercrime

THUNDER BAY – NEWS – The Thunder Bay Police Service is warning the public about an apparent increase in complaints about sextortion threats. Sextortion is a form of digital extortion where a perpetrator acquires someone’s intimate or private photographs and threatens to make them public. The photographs or videos may have been given to the perpetrator by the victim or stolen without the victim’s knowledge.

In most cases, sextortioners persuade their victims to exchange sexual content, usually starting with the sharing of a sexual photo by the sextortioner. The targeted person then sends a sexual photo or video or is tricked into exposing themselves or engaging in a sexual act over a livestream and being unknowingly recorded. After receiving the sexual content, the sextortioner will make demands.

The Thunder Bay Police Service strongly encourages the public not to share photos online with people they do not know personally to prevent sextortion incidents. However, if someone finds themselves in such a situation, there are a few steps they can take.

Firstly, the police service advises immediately stopping communication with the sextortioner and deactivating (but not deleting) any accounts used to communicate with them. Secondly, the service warns against giving in to threats, not paying any money, and not sending additional nudes. It is also essential to keep copies of the messages and information about the sextortioner, including their usernames, social media account information, and any images or videos sent. Finally, individuals are urged to report the incident to the Thunder Bay Police through the non-emergency line at (807) 684-1200.

The Thunder Bay Police Service reminds the public that sending intimate digital content always carries a risk to privacy. The Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre and Cybertip offer resources and support to those who have been victims of sextortion or other scams. To learn more about sextortion scams and other online harms, please visit the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre or Cybertip.

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