The Cyber Crime Unit of the Greater Sudbury Police Service is passing on an alert from by the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.
The message refers to 'sextortion' happening online in which offenders record teenagers exposing themselves on live streaming videos – and then threaten to release the video if money is not paid.
The centre “strongly encourages parents to discuss online safety with their teens and, most importantly, convince their children to come forward if they or their peers are victims of sextortion,” the release said.
“Teens need to understand that they should never comply with threats, as this only makes the situation worse.”
The warning from the child protection agency says the new tactic being used by online criminals attempts to blackmail the teens for either money or more explicit videos or images.
“Cybertip.ca has received numerous reports over the last year relating to sextortion, which involves offenders secretly recording teenagers exposing themselves on live streaming video, recording the acts and then using the recording to threaten distribution unless the teen pays money,” the agency said in its release.
“Around this same issue, there is a new tactic surfacing that involves the youth’s peer group. Threats are now being extended to other teenagers within the same social peer group.
“Friends are being shown the sexual image/video of their peer and being told that if they don’t share a sexual image of themselves, that the offender will distribute the already recorded sexual video/image of their friend.”
The tactic appears to be used to expand the number of teens being extorted for money, which the tipline has seen range from $200 to $1,000.
“The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is strongly encouraging parents to have a regular conversation with their teens around online safety,” the release said. “Parents should openly discuss the importance of their children coming forward if they or their peers are facing concerning online situations.
“It is also important to discuss the risks associated to live streaming and agreeing to do something sexual online. We strongly encourage parents to take the time and learn about ways to increase teen’s safety online by visiting cybertip.ca/youth_internet_safety.”