Social media has been known as a great way to connect with people, but Morden Police Chief Brad Neduzak said people also need to be careful of who they are talking to and how intimate the online conversation can be, warning people of all ages are falling prey to Sextortion.
"The topic that people tend to kind of shy away from or not talk about is...sextortion, and really, what that is, is a form of blackmail," explained Neduzak. "When someone threatens to send sexual images or video of a person if they don't pay or provide payment for the photos. So, this can be somebody that you know very well, that you share intimate images of, or it could be a total stranger."
Neduzak added it often happens online, adding the person you think you are talking to may not be that person at all.
"Unfortunately, with social media today, a lot of times it starts with normal online conversations in these chat rooms and then moves to more of a private platform, and then people get comfortable and familiar with each other and feel the need to share images, and from there it just kind of goes downhill."
The Chief recommended some ways of protecting yourself.
"Some other things that you can do to protect yourself online is set all your social media accounts to private, and never send, of course, any compromising images of yourself or anyone, no matter how close you are to that person or how well you think you know them. Do not open any attachments from people that you you're not familiar with. These sorts of things can help you stay a little bit safer."
He added, shame is often a tactic used to pressure the victim.
"People start making threats and, you know, want you to send money in order for them not to spread these photos or videos any further with anybody or report to family members. There's also threats that they will let family or friends know about what they've been doing, and with the shame and embarrassment of it all, sometimes people immediately send money to try and get this wiped out and forgotten about."
Neduzak repeated, while the best form of protection is to never share these images with anyone, no matter how much you know and trust them, if someone finds themselves in this situation they are to stop all contact with the perpetrator, do not send money and instead, get help immediately.