19 December 2014 the BBC http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-30494566 reports on an unfortunate incident where a teenager takes his own life by jumping off a bridge. He had been blackmailed on the internet apparently by a group from the Philippines.
The teenager was tricked into a Skype conversation believing he was talking to a girl his own age, and was tricked into sharing intimate photos, he was then blackmailed. The situation worsened and he ended up committing suicide.
1 gang leader in the Philippines running these types of blackmail operations made 2.3 Million in only 10 months so it is really big business especially for the poorer countries like the Philippines.
It has been reported that there is an explosion in Sextortion on the internet aimed at children http://www.itproportal.com/2015/03/30/sextortion-growing-epidemic-expert-warns/ It has been reported by a research company that the target groups are between 12 and 15 with 14 year old children being the most exploited age group.
With the rise of social media and internet access it is all to easy for children to fall foul of this problem. It starts with an innocent message via email or social media, it then begins with chit chat and then quickly escalates to the sextortionist sending a photo of the opposite sex and asking for one in return. The ultimate aim being to get a photo of a naked child that can be used as blackmail and then attempt to extort money from the child by threatening to expose the photo to friends and family via socail media like facebook.
This unfortunately is not normally an idle threat and it will go ahead. It is all to easy by way of modern technology to be done in a flash at relatively no effort on the sextortionist part.
As you are probably aware by posting a photo to your Facebook page your contacts including your family and friends will get to see this content in seconds.
Therefore it is all important that Kids must think before they click, follow these 5 basic rules to improve saftey online make your kids aware of them.
1. Never share pictures of yourself online that you would not want to be seen by your family, teachers or a total stranger
- 2. Set your user profile to private so only real friends get access.
- 3. Only chat with friends never a stranger
- 4. Never share personal information online like your full name, school, address or phone number
- 5. Never meet up with anyone you met online
- 6. Report suspected abuse to parent teachers or police
For parents it is important to keep an eye out for changes in your child’s patten for example strange gifts being received through the mail, calls being made to unknown numbers, minimising the computer screen or turning off the monitor when you come in to the room and spending lots of time online alone.
But more important of all talk to your children about the problem so they are made aware of the threat, keeping the communication line open with your kids amy avert a series problem should it start ever escalating..
Sextortion Q&A by interpol is a useful read to make you aware File : Sextortion – Questions and Answers – Interpol.