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OPP, experts issue warning around rise in 'sextortion' scam incidents

Police are warning the public after an 18-year-old in Middlesex County was scammed out of $4,000 after images were captured during an intimate online chat.

In a recent case, an 18-year-old in Middlesex County was scammed out of $4,000

Sextortion scams are on the rise, with younger males reported to be the most victimized according to experts with cybertip.ca. (Reuters)

Provincial police and online experts are warning the public about intimate encounters online after a teen was victimized in Middlesex County.

Middlesex OPP said an 18-year-old recently met someone on a social media app and engaged in an intimate conversation. The victim was then threatened that their images would be shared with family and friends if they didn't send $4,000.

The so-called "sextortion" scam happened not because the teen shared intimate photos, but because they were made to believe intimate images of them were captured from the phone they were using while engaged in conversation.

Police say the teen sent the money out of fear and the investigation into the case is ongoing.

Sextortion is on the rise, especially against teenage males. Host Allison Devereaux is joined by Program Manager at cybertip.ca, Catherine Tabak, to hear about a recent case in Middlesex County and more about reporting online child sexual exploitation.

According to one online expert, sextortion cases like this are on the rise in Canada.

"In July, we received reports related to 322 incidents of sextortion in comparison to July of last year where we had 85," said Catherine Taback, a program manager with cybertip.ca.

Taback says the majority of incidents involve younger males.

"They're more commonly known in our space to be more impulsive and do more of that sexual exploration online," she said. "And so that makes them a little bit more vulnerable to these types of crimes."

Police are urging everyone who is engaging in intimate connections online to think twice before sharing any personal or sexually explicit images and to reach out for help if someone issues threats.

Police are urging anyone who is a victim of a sextortion scam call them at 1-888-310-1122 or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center at 1-888-495-8501.

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