The Fort Saskatchewan RCMP is warning the public about a rise in 'sextortion' cases targeting young men. 

The cases involve scammers initiating a fake relationship online and convincing victims to send intimate images; once they have received the photos, the scammers threaten to distribute them unless they are paid. According to police, six incidents of online extortion targeting men between 17 and 25 have been reported in the Fort Saskatchewan area since the beginning of May.

Mounties encourage the public to refrain from posting intimate images online, especially when they don't know the other person. Additionally, children need to know they can report these cases to a trusted adult.  

Other tips to keep yourself safe online include: 

For yourself:   

  • Think before you post; information is instant, public, and permanent. 
  •  Do not accept friend requests on social media from unknown people. 
  • Do not share or send intimate images of yourself with anyone; if you aren't okay with the whole world seeing them, do not send them.
  • Use privacy settings on social media and keep personal information to a minimum. 
  • Trust your instincts. If anything about an interaction makes you feel uncomfortable, end the conversation immediately. 

 For parents:  

  • Be open about online behaviour. 
  • Make online activity part of your regular conversations. 
  • Encourage your teen to take breaks away from devices. 
  •  Work with your children on how to behave safely online from a young age. 

 If you are a victim:  

  • Stop communicating with the person immediately. 
  • Do not comply with the threat, and do not send money or additional images. 
  • Keep the correspondence.
  • Report to your local police. 

Resources and additional information on ways to keep safe online can be found at www.needhelpnow.ca or www.cybertip.ca/sextortion.