Internet Child Exploitation Unit seeing a trend among recent files

The ICE Unit says a number of files have involved the same type of scam, involving sharing of intimate images and then extortion.

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The Saskatchewan internet Child Exploitation Unit says it has noticed a “concerning” trend in files over the past few months and wants to warn families.

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In a release, the ICE Unit says a number of files have involved the same type of scam. The scam involves sharing of intimate images, then extortion carried out over “various apps and games.”

According to the release, youth will connect with a suspect posing as a similar aged youth on social media. The suspect will communicate with the youth and send intimate images and videos of a person they say is themselves, then ask the youth to do the same.

Once the youth has sent intimate images, the suspect will then demand money from them under the theft of sending the images to friends, family and social media contacts.

Police say youth are sometimes giving out too much personal information like emails, usernames and passwords, which suspects will use to set up new accounts under an assumed identity.

“Suspects are often in countries outside of Canada and therefor our investigative abilities are sometimes limited,” the release says. “This increases the frustration of the family and the investigators. Sometimes the images stay online and we are not able to stop the sharing of the images once it is on the internet.”

Police ask that people speak with their families about internet safety rules and not sharing private information and images. The release notes this can also happen to adults.

“Having an intimate image of yourself on the internet is bad enough, but to have someone else control it makes the situation horrendous,” the release says.

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