Two students recently reported to the University of Michigan Police that unknown subjects had attempted to extort money from them in exchange for not publishing explicit pictures or videos online. Both incidents, which occurred November 12 and 14, began with Facebook friend invitations and soon escalated into online chatting and videotaping before a demand for money was made.
If you have received a threat or demand for money to avoid the release of pictures or videos, don’t panic, please immediately contact the University of Michigan Police, even if you’ve already paid money. If you’re not on campus, contact your local police agency. The police will take your case seriously, dealing with it in confidence and without judgment.
Don’t communicate further with the criminals. Don’t pay anything and DO NOT DELETE ANY CORRESPONDENCE. Take screenshots of all your correspondence. Suspend your Facebook account (don’t delete it) and use the online reporting process to the sites such as Skype and YouTube to have any video blocked. Also, consider setting up an alert in case the video resurfaces.
Here are some precautions you can take to avoid being blackmailed on the internet:
- Never send compromising images of yourself to anyone, no matter who they are, or who they say they are.
- Do not open attachments from people you do not know.
- Turn off your electronic devices and web cameras when you are not using them.
For more information on sextortion: