LATEST ALERT

Alarming escalation in sextortion tactics targeting teens

Cybertip.ca is seeing an escalation in tactics being used by offenders to sextort teens. This comes on the heels of the tipline’s most recent alert that warned parents of a 62% increase in reports of teens being sextorted over the past six months, with males, ages 15–17, being a particular focus.

Sextortion and Offenders’ Tactics

We are strongly encouraging parents to openly discuss with their teens the tactics offenders are using to threaten, manipulate and coerce youth into sharing sexual images/videos or sending money. Recent strategies include:

Threats to share the sexual image/video with a school or many schools

After the extorter gets an image(s) or video(s), they say they are going to send it to your teen’s school. They share a screen capture of the school to show they know the school your teen attends. If they do not know the school, they sometimes threaten to send the image or video to schools nearby or to various schools across the country.

Threats to share the sexual image/video with family and friends

After the extorter gets an image(s) or video(s), they say they are going to send them to the teen’s family or friends and show a screen capture of the list of family and friends on your teen’s social media account (Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc.).

Fake newspaper articles

After the extorter gets an image(s), they create a newspaper article with the image(s) saying they will distribute the article if the teen doesn’t comply with their requests (typically sending money or more images or videos). The article may make false claims about the teen abusing other younger children or about them hurting other people.

Threats to share the sexual image/video newspapers, news outlets and TV stations

After the extorter gets an image(s) or video(s), they threaten to share it with newspapers, news outlets and/or TV stations if money is not paid. They use news outlets many are familiar with in Canada or they may use other international outlets like France24, Wat Tv, National Geographic, etc.

Sugar Daddy scams

A message is sent asking the teen if they want the person to be their “sugar daddy” — the extorter says they will pay the teen money if they send sexual image(s) or video(s). They may make other threats if the teen does not comply with the request.

Modelling opportunity

The extorter sends a message asking if your teen wants a modelling job. The extorter asks your teen to send some images for the job once your teen shows interest. They then ask for more sexual or nude images as they continue to message your teen. They may make other threats if your teen does not comply with sending images.

Start the Discussion with your Teen

While it may be uncomfortable, discussions around intimate images, sextortion, and coercion are urgently needed. Have a conversation about:

  1. What sextortion is and the tactics offenders are using to get sexual images or videos or money from youth.
  2. The potential harm this can cause if a person gets naked on live stream. Once you do this, you have no idea what the person you are communicating with may be doing to record and then possibly share the recording of the live stream with others. It can also be used as a weapon to extort for additional sexual images/videos or money.
  3. How to recognize the red flag behaviours. There are many coercive tactics that can be used to try and manipulate your teen into doing something they don’t want to do. Attention bombing (persistence with staying in close contact) and chat that quickly escalates to being sexual in nature should be viewed as concerning.
  4. Encourage your teen to come to you or another safe adult if they notice these things. Let them know that you want to know if this happens so that you can help them. Remind your teen that their safety is what is most important to you. If something happens online that makes them feel uncomfortable or scared, they can come to you without fear of getting in trouble.
  5. Talk to your teen about other resources that are available to help them if they get in over their head such as needhelpnow.ca or Cybertip.ca.

What to do if this is happening to your teen?

If your child has received any message like the ones above or been threatened in any way, have them IMMEDIATELY STOP COMMUNICATING, DO NOT COMPLY and report to Cybertip.ca through the online report form or to your local law enforcement agency.

For more information and resources, visit cybertip.ca/sextortion.

About Cybertip.ca Alerts

Cybertip.ca Alerts are notifications sent out to inform the public of concerning technology trends and new resources designed to increase children’s personal safety. As Canada’s national tipline for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children, the information reported to Cybertip.ca enables us to identify the online risks children and youth are facing. Recognizing that it can be difficult to keep up with technology, signing up for these alerts provides you with important information to help keep your family safe while using the various popular platforms on the Internet.

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Previously Issued Cybertip.ca Alerts:

  • Cybertip.ca, Canada’s tipline for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children, has seen a 62% increase in reports of teens being sextorted over the past six months, with males, ages 15–17, being the biggest target.

    What is sextortion and how does it happen?

    Sextortion is blackmail; it’s when someone online threatens to send a sexual image or video of you to other people if you don’t pay them or provide more sexual images or videos.

    Sextortion usually starts with normal online conversations. If the offender is successful in then moving the youth to a more private platform, the chat and requests quickly turn very personal and sexual. Recently, Cybertip.ca reports have noted it’s common to see initial contact on online platforms such as Omegle™, Snapchat®, or Instagram®, and then the communication moving to Google+ Hangouts® or Skype®, where youth are coerced to undress on camera. Teens are often tricked into doing this by thinking they are talking to a peer. For males, they can be under the impression the person is a female who has a sexual interest in them. Offenders have been known to go as far as using pre-recorded video—for example, a teen girl taking off her clothes—to convince the youth to do the same. The video chats are then screen recorded or screen grabbed, and the resulting images or videos are used to sextort the teen.

    Through Cybertip.ca reports it is not uncommon to see the offender request money in exchange for a promise not to post or share the teen’s intimate images or videos online or with others. Monetary demands range from $70 to $700. Typically, the extorter requests use of an online payment provider like PayPal®, but in a few instances, they’ve insisted on Google Play® and Apple® gift cards as payment.

    COVID-19 and increased time online for youth because of it has only exacerbated the issue. Sextortion can occur anywhere online and parents/guardians must be vigilant in discussing the risks facing youth online to increase awareness and reduce child victimization.

    What can I do if my teen is being sextorted?

    Stay calm and report it — Immediately report what has happened to Cybertip.ca or contact police in your jurisdiction. Offenders who engage in sextortion are commonly targeting numerous children.

    Immediately have your teen stop all communication — Deactivate (but don’t delete) any of the accounts your teen is using to communicate with the individual.

    DO NOT comply with the threat — In other words, never pay money. If your teen has paid money, check to see if it has been collected and, if not, quickly cancel the payment.

    Keep the correspondence – Keep information such as the person’s username(s), social media account information, a copy of the communications, along with any images and/or videos that your teen sent.

    Messaging to share with teens: How can Cybertip.ca help

    Often teens have a hard time telling a safe adult about what’s happening to them online and try to deal with the situation on their own. Cybertip.ca offers youth a place to turn to for support and educational resources to help reduce their risk of victimization.

    Safe reporting — If you are being sextorted, there is help! Report what has happened to Cybertip.ca through an online report form (you can remain anonymous if you choose) or via the toll-free number at 1-866-658-9022.

    If the situation involves an adult who has or is sharing an intimate image or video of someone under 18, it should be immediately reported to local police or Cybertip.ca.

    Help with image removal — If the image or video has been posted online, Cybertip.ca analysts can help to get child sexual abuse material or intimate images of a minor removed from the platform.

    They can also help guide you on actions to take to have it removed yourself, if you prefer.

    Provide support — Cybertip.ca analysts can provide practical steps to help regain control over the situation, including connecting youth to Canadian Centre for Child Protection (which operates Cybertip.ca) support services who work extensively with teens, schools, and families during instances of sextortion. They can help with everything from emotional support to connecting you with therapy or victim services, if needed.

    For more information and resources, visit cybertip.ca/sextortion.

  • Cybertip.ca has started to receive reports of a new concerning sextortion tactic. Offenders are superimposing a youth’s face in a video or photo to make it look like they are nude or engaging in a sex act. Then they demand the youth send them money or gift cards, or they will send the video or photo to the victim’s friends and family.

    Cybertip.ca is also seeing other concerning tactics, sometimes in combination with the above:

    • Offenders will follow the youth’s friends and family on Facebook® or Instagram® as a way to demonstrate they can follow through on threats to share the video or photo if the victim does not comply.
    • Offenders are also creating social media accounts using the victim’s name, or a similar name (e.g., Smyth instead of Smith), to share the videos or photos.
    • Offenders are utilizing filters available on certain apps that allow them to appear younger than they are on live streams through the app.

    These tactics can happen on many types of social media platforms. The following platforms have been noted by people reporting to Cybertip.ca: Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat®, Google® Hangouts, Skype®, Omegle™, and Line App, among others.

    Example report:

    In a report to Cybertip.ca, an individual said they answered a video call from an unknown person. The offender screen recorded the conversation and edited the victim’s face into a video making it look like they were engaged in sexual activity on camera. The offender demanded money or they would share it on social media.

    Prevention Tips:

    • Discuss with your children the importance of not answering video calls from those who are unknown to them.
    • If they mistakenly connect over livestream with someone unknown, immediately disconnect and do not respond to any renewed attempts to connect.
    • When the option is available, answer video calls with the camera turned off until they have confirmed the identity of the person calling.

    What should parents do if your teen has been targeted?

    Report it. There is help. Immediately report what has happened to Cybertip.ca or contact police in your jurisdiction. If it is happening to your teen, the person is more than likely doing the same thing to others and this needs to be reported to the proper authorities.

    Immediately stop all communication. Log off or deactivate (but don’t delete) any of the accounts used to communicate with the individual. Pay attention to any of the other accounts your teen may have linked to as the user may attempt to contact them there as well.

    Ensure that you and/or your child DO NOT comply with the threat. In other words, never pay money and never send additional nudes. The situation will NOT get better by doing either of these things. If money has been sent to the extortionist, check to see if it has been collected and, if not, quickly cancel the payment. If it has, contact the money service that has been used immediately. Most money services will have a blackmail form you can fill out.

    Keep the correspondence. Keep information such as the user’s name, username(s) or email addresses and which platforms they are linked to, information about your own usernames/email addresses on those same platforms, details of any payment request (Western Union® contact details, etc.), a copy of the communications, and any images and/or videos that were sent.

    Remember that you are not alone. Visit dontgetsextorted.ca and needhelpnow.ca for resources on how to manage instances of sextortion and sexting, as well as where to turn for support.

    For more information on offender tactics and warning signs, go to cybertip.ca/sextortion.

  • With kids spending more time online during COVID-19, individuals looking to exploit children online are sharing “best practices” for targeting and abusing children during this pandemic.

    “They recommend parents monitor their kids online activities even more strictly now (we know most will not). They recommend that parents ensure that their kids do not take phones, laptops, or tablets into their bedrooms or bathrooms (it is our goals to get them there).”
    Dark web comment

    What should parents know?

    • A capper is an individual who tricks kids into committing a sexual act over live stream while screen capturing or recording a video. Some cappers will use the child’s images/videos to extort them for more sexual images or money.
    • There are also those cappers who simply record the sexual act over live stream without ever disclosing to the youth they have done so. These cappers simply move on to their next target, using the material to elevate their status by exchanging it with other offenders online. The youth within the image/video may never know that sexual content of them is available online and/or being traded within the offender community.
    • Cappers are sharing tips and tricks to successfully engage in this activity, including reading a “how to cap manual,” how to use bait videos that trick children into believing they are chatting with a peer, and which platforms they have been the most successful on when trying to victimize children/youth.

    How does this happen?

    • Often conversations start on popular platforms such as Instagram®, Snapchat®, Omegle™, Chatroulette™, or Skype® and then the capper will ask youth to move to another video chat platform.
    • From there cappers may use a pre-recorded video — for example a teenage girl taking off her clothes — and asks the youth to do the same.
    • Once the youth removes their clothes, or engages in a sexual act, the threats often begin almost immediately, notifying the youth the live stream has been recorded.
    • Reports to Cybertip.ca indicate cappers will often screenshot the youth’s friends list and send a screenshot of the video they took stating it will be released to friends and family if they don’t comply.

    What can parents do?

    Now more than ever parents must not rely on content filters and parental controls; supervision, along with some additional measures are key:

    • Talk to your child about the potential harm that can occur if you get naked on webcam. Once you do this, you have no idea what the person you are communicating with may be doing to record and then possibly share the image/video with others.
    • Talk to your child about red flag behaviours online such as attention bombing (persistence with staying in close contact) and chat that quickly escalates to being sexual in nature. Encourage your child to come to you if they notice these things.
    • Have regular conversations about what apps, websites, and platforms your children are using, especially those that have live stream capabilities. For further information about conversation tips, read our blog Staying Safe Together.
    • Work together to establish guidelines around texting, social media, live streaming, and gaming, such as who your child can do these things with and on what apps. It’s important to remember the platforms children intersect with need to be built with them in mind. This means proper age verification, moderation, and safety built into the design, such as platforms that do not allow children and adults to intermix without rules.
    • Remind your child that their safety is what is most important to you, and if they come across something or someone online that makes them feel uncomfortable they can come to you without fear of getting in trouble.
    • If you see, read, or hear anything sexual from an adult towards your child online, report it to Cybertip.ca.

    For additional online safety information and resources, visit protectchildren.ca/covid and for more information on offender tactics and warning signs, go to cybertip.ca/sextortion.

  • With school closures due to COVID-19, children who are at home will potentially have more unrestricted time online. The Canadian Centre for Child Protection, through its program Cybertip.ca, is urging families to have conversations about internet safety and to work together to implement strategies that ensures everyone’s digital well-being.

    What should parents be aware of?

    • Your child may want to spend increased time connecting with friends by live streaming or video chatting. Talk to your child about the ease by which screengrabs and video recordings from live streams or video chats can be saved and used against tweens to embarrass or harm them, even by people they know. Be mindful that some live stream apps/platforms feature private messaging where anyone can direct message your child. To learn more about the risks of live streaming and ways to safeguard kids, visit protectkidsonline.ca/live.
    • Online gaming is another way your child may want to connect with friends and pass the time. Like live streaming, gaming platforms can open kids up to receiving chats or private messages from people they don’t know in real life. For example, Cybertip.ca released an alert regarding the popular multi-player website Roblox after receiving reports concerning requests to meet up in person, and/or sexually suggestive chat messages being sent to children under the age of 12 within the game. For more information on online gaming concerns, and what you can do, read the blog Glitching Out on ProtectKidsOnline.ca.
    • TikTok is a hugely popular app for tweens and teens, and they may want to spend more time creating and posting content. Teens may be tempted to take risks or act explicitly to get more followers or likes on a video. This can also be heightened by TikTok challenges, which are created by TikTok and the community itself. While most are just silly viral trends or marketing schemes, some can be dangerous. Read more about TikTok and how to keep tweens/teen safe while using it on our blog, A Quick Guide to TikTok.
    • In the past two years, Cybertip.ca analysts have classified 600 reports as luring — adults communicating online with a child for a sexual purpose — through a variety of apps and services such as Facebook/Messenger, Instagram, Snapchat, Kik, and online gaming platforms. Learn more about the ways in which offenders attempt to gain access to children online by visiting cybertip.ca/grooming.

    What can parents do?

    1. Have regular conversations about online safety. This includes talking about the online games your kids are playing, the apps they’re using, and who they are chatting with. For tips on how to get the discussion started, visit protectkidsonline.ca for age-appropriate ideas.
    2. Set the expectation you will monitor your child’s online activities, and work together to establish guidelines around texting, social media, live streaming, and gaming, such as who your child can do these things with and on what apps.
    3. Become familiar with, or revisit the parental controls on computers, phones, and tablets. Some devices allow parents to limit access to specific apps, social media sites, internet content, and features available within the device.
    4. For younger children, help them create their login, password, and profile information ensuring it is set to private. For tweens and teens, know their username/character name and password, as well as the email address used to sign up for apps/games/social accounts.
    5. Help tweens/teens set up privacy settings in apps/games/social accounts. With a private account, users can approve or deny followers/friends, restrict who can view their content and profile information, and limit incoming messages to followers/friends only. Work together to decide who to accept as followers/friends.
    6. Tell your child that if they come across something or someone while chatting/messaging/texting that makes them feel uncomfortable, they can tell you without fear of getting in trouble or losing online privileges. Remind them that their safety is what is most important to you.
    7. If you see, read, or hear anything sexual from an adult towards your child online, report it to Cybertip.ca.

    And remember, there’s no amount of online filters or safety controls that can replace parental supervision and communication.

    Visit protectkidsonline.ca for more information on kids’ online interests, the potential risks, and points to help parents talk about online safety with kids no matter what their age.

  • The Canadian Centre for Child Protection, through its Cybertip.ca program, wants to make parents aware of the app Cake — Live Stream Video Chat and its risks for teens after recently learning about the app and its significant volume of sexual content.

    What are the concerns?

    1. This app’s content is primarily sexual in nature

      In less than 12 hours of creating an account we received four unsolicited messages with sexual content, including a sexually explicit video from a male user. Sections of the app include the “Hot List” and “Top Cakers” where the top 10 profile pictures are exclusively young females, most of whom are in provocative poses. Our profile picture was NOT sexually suggestive.

    2. Teens can connect and share videos with anyone, which increases the risk of sextortion

      Cake’s one-on-one video chat encourages users to connect to people they don’t know in “Go Private Random.” They can also join private chat rooms or public broadcast rooms. This creates opportunities for individuals to seek out youth and gradually manipulate them into sharing sexual images or videos, which can be captured as screenshots or video without your teen ever knowing.

    3. Live streaming videos earns users cash value, which encourages risk-taking behaviour

      The app encourages users to share live video broadcasts and to video chat with new people by rewarding them with “diamonds,” which can be exchanged for cash value. Users can also earn “diamonds” from others by completing specific requests made by users watching the live stream and broadcasting parties. This may encourage teens to take risks like talking to people they do not know, who can ask them to perform tasks that may progress to being sexual in nature.

    4. No enforcement of minimum age requirement means younger kids are using Cake

      While the Cake app is intended for users who are at least 13 years old, this is buried in the Terms of Use and is not enforced, even when a new user enters a birth date indicating they are younger than 13.

    What can parents do?

    1. If your child is under the age of 13, they should NOT be on Cake. The highly sexual nature of the app also raises questions about why youth need to use it at all. Have a conversation with your teen about choosing a more appropriate app for live streaming with their friends.
    2. Talk to your teen about the risks of live streaming, including that anyone watching can capture a screenshot or video without them knowing.
    3. Encourage your teen to talk to you about weird or uncomfortable moments they encounter. Emphasize that it is never too late to come to you for help, even if they have made a mistake.
    4. If they are going to use the app, review the security/privacy settings with your teen and take these steps:
      • Select “Discover” in the bottom right corner of the screen and then the settings icon in the top right corner.
      • For the “Profile Visible” setting, select “Hidden” so your teen is not visible to all users.
      • For the “Private Call” setting, select “Not Accept” so your teen does not get calls from unknown users.
    5. Review your teen’s “Friends,” “Followers,” and “Following” lists. Ask your teen if they know each person offline and have them delete the rest.

    What do I do if my child is being sextorted?

    Live-streaming apps that connect youth with users they do not know increase the risk of sextortion. If you think your child is being sextorted, Cybertip.ca can help.

  • The Canadian Centre for Child Protection wants to make parents aware of a popular new anonymous feedback app called Sarahah, now one of the most popular downloads in the App Store.

    What is the concern?

    Initially created so that users could receive anonymous “constructive criticism” from friends and co-workers, Sarahah has quickly turned into a platform for cyberbullying and harassment.

    What can parents do?

    The Canadian Centre for Child Protection encourages parents to:

    • Talk to your teens about the harm anonymous message apps can cause and limiting their use of the app.
    • Ensure that teens who are using the app change the settings to remove them from the search function and only share their user names with people they know. To do this, tap on the person icon on the bottom right of the screen, select the gear icon (settings) at the top right, and under “Privacy” swipe left on “Appear in Search” and “Receive messages from non-registered users”.
    • Review the app to ensure it is age appropriate – the App Store states that you must be at least 17 years of age to download Sarahah.

    Cybertip.ca has more online safety information for youth available here.

  • The Canadian Centre for Child Protection, through its Cybertip.ca program, wants to make parents aware of a concerning new location-sharing feature on Snapchat, an app that lets users send photos, videos, and messages that disappear after a set time. Snapchat is hugely popular with teens and has more users than Twitter.

    What is the concern?

    If location services have been turned on, “Snap Maps” reveals your current location by showing your Bitmoji character on a map or a shadow-figure if a Bitmoji character has not been created. This opt-in feature allows friends to look at shared stories (created by a combination of Snaps, both images and videos) taken by multiple users at the same event or location, or see where other friends are located. Users can select who sees where they are – all friends, a select group, or none (ghost mode). You can zoom out far enough to see a whole world map, and close enough to see street names, parks, and other landmarks.

    There is a real safety concern in others being able to track your daily movements, including where you go to school, the route you walk every day, and where you live. Users may not realize this feature is on all the time and updates your location each time you open the app, not just when sharing to “My Stories.”

    What can parents do?

    Talk to your teen about:

    • Setting the app to “Ghost Mode” which keeps their location private (the Bitmoji does not appear on the map).
    • Ensuring their “friends” on Snapchat (and all social media) are people they have met in person.

    Share this important information with other parents and encourage others to sign-up for Cybertip.ca Alerts.

  • The Canadian Centre for Child Protection wants to make parents aware of concerns in a popular gaming environment called Roblox. Roblox is a user-generated gaming environment where children are encouraged to create adventures using their avatar, play games and connect with friends in this multiplayer environment that claims to have over 44 million active users.

    The Canadian Centre’s Cybertip.ca program has received reports concerning requests to meet up in person, and/or sexually suggestive chat messages being sent to children under the age of 12 within Roblox. It is important for parents to be on alert with any app or site that offers direct messaging chat features.

    Through the chat feature, children can easily be exposed to inappropriate conversations or redirected to inappropriate content on other sites. Before your child starts playing a particular game, explore it yourself first. Is there an interactive (chat) component in the game? Is this an optional feature that can be turned off? Are there other optional features that can be turned off or on to improve safety? Does the game allow for an easy way to report inappropriate activity? Does an online search of the app or game find media articles that involve child safety-related concerns?

    We want to remind parents that it is important to teach children to:

    • Check with you before using new apps/games or sharing any information online. For children under 12, online interactions should always be supervised by a parent or safe adult.
    • Not respond or click on messages or links from someone they don’t know.
    • Tell you if they come across something or someone while playing an online game that makes them feel uncomfortable and that they can tell you without fear of getting in trouble.
    • Ask your permission before ever accepting a request from another gamer to move over to a video chatting site or other chat platform.

    Share this important information with other parents and encourage others to sign-up for Cybertip.ca Alerts.

  • The Canadian Centre for Child Protection wants to make parents aware of concerns about youth using a popular live streaming mobile app Live.me. The app allows its users to post live broadcasts and receive “tips” from other users for completing specific tasks during live broadcasts. These “tips” are in the form “gold coins” and can be exchanged for money. Users then have the ability to either delete the recording of the live broadcast or post it on their profile. The app also does not have any restrictions on the age an individual needs to be to create an account.

    Understandably, this app has attracted youth who may not be equipped to understand the dangers of recording and sharing sexual videos or engaging in sexual activity while streaming live video feeds. They need to understand that anyone on the other end of the live feed can capture a still image or video of them engaged in that activity – all without their knowledge.

    In many cases, the Cybertip.ca program has also seen an intersect between the use of the Live.me app and the use of other live streaming or social media apps (such as YouNow, Periscope, Musical.ly, etc.) in order to increase followers. It’s important for parents to be aware that the use of these apps by youth may pose different risks based on the variety of features they offer.

    The Canadian Centre for Child Protection strongly suggests that parents consider the following when trusting their child with a personal mobile device:

    • Having conversations about the risks associated to complying with requests from other users and communicating with other users online whom the youth does not know offline;
    • Reviewing and utilizing any apps prior to allowing their child to download it on their personal device;
    • Ensuring that any apps being used by their child is age-appropriate;
    • Reinforcing and encouraging their child to bring forward any concerns that they encounter;
    • Stressing that they are always there to help their child through any difficult situation they may encounter both online and offline.

    For more information on the risks youth face when utilizing live streaming applications, please see our brochure titled Keeping Teens Safe from Online Sexual Exploitation online and safety sheets on the topics of apps and online extortion.

  • The Canadian Centre for Child Protection wants to make parents and youth aware of the risks concerning online requests involving prospective job opportunities. Cybertip.ca has been contacted a few times in the last month by individuals who believe their legitimate business name was being used to lure youth for the purposes of exploitation. These individuals are contacting teens through social media, portraying themselves as associated with a legitimate business that is offering job opportunities such as modelling. Cybertip.ca is also aware of situations where youth have responded to online postings related to employment and during the additional communication with the prospective employer, sexual requests are made to youth.

    Cybertip.ca strongly encourages parents and teens to take the necessary steps to verify the legitimacy around any prospective online job opportunities. Talk to youth about the importance of:

    • Checking out any potential job opportunities with a parent/guardian. Having another person hear about what you have been offered can help identify if it sounds legitimate.
    • Taking the time to verify the information being presented. Beyond what the person contacting you has provided, research the company name that has been given. Check to see if the person contacting you actually works for the company. Contact them through the phone number or email address provided on their official site, as opposed to the contact information (phone/email address/other) the person contacting you has provided.
    • Trusting your instincts: If anything about the situation seems weird or questionable, pay attention to this warning signal. Our bodies are designed to warn us of potential danger.

    For more information on discussions you can have with your teen related to identifying situations involving online exploitation, visit https://www.cybertip.ca/pdfs/C3P_SafetySheet_OnlineLuring_en.pdf.

  • The Canadian Centre for Child Protection, through its Cybertip.ca program, wants to inform the public about a new tactic being used by those extorting youth online for money and/or sexual images/videos. 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. 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. This tactic appears to be used to expand the number of teens being extorted for money which the tipline has seen range from $200 – $1,000.

    The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is strongly encouraging parents to have a regular conversation with their teens around online safety. Parents should openly discuss the importance of their children coming forward if they or their peers are facing concerning online situations. They should also stress why it is critical to never comply with threats, as this only makes the situation worse. 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 https://cybertip.ca/youth_internet_safety.

  • The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is warning parents about an increasing and serious trend involving Canadian youth being extorted for money. In the last few weeks, Cybertip.ca, Canada’s national tipline for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children, has seen a concerning rise in teenagers reporting issues surrounding video communication with adults posing as teenagers. On platforms that allow users to communicate by video, offenders are secretly recording teenagers exposing themselves and then threatening to share the sexual content if they don’t pay money (often hundreds of dollars) to the individual.

    While many teens understand the dangers associated with recording and sharing sexual images and videos, they may not be as aware of the risks associated with live video feeds. With relative ease over live streaming, anyone can capture a still image or video of a person sexually exposing themselves – all without the other person’s knowledge.

    Parents need to have regular, open dialogue with their teen around this topic encouraging the teen to seek parental support in situations like this. It is also important to talk to teens about never complying with threats online, since in most cases this will only make matters worse. We strongly encourage parents to take the time and learn more about ways to increase your teen’s safety online by visiting www.needhelpnow.ca and the Internet Safety section of the Cybertip.ca website.

  • The Canadian Centre for Child Protection is warning the public about an anonymous question and answer site called Ask.fm that is presently trending with Canadian youth. Recent reports made by the public to the Canadian Centre’s Cybertip.ca program (Canada’s national tipline for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children) has raised significant concerns about tween’s and teen’s exposure to and/or involvement in sexually explicit commentary, cyberbullying, threats, and harassing activities on this very popular site.

    Click here to learn more.


The tips and other information provided herein is intended as general information only, not as advice. Readers should assess all information in light of their own circumstances, and any other relevant factors.