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Scams, blackmail, and threats

Warning ⚠️

Before you share anything, remember that an image, video, or written content lasts forever. Even though some social networks allow you to delete and report posts, someone may very well have made a screenshot or recorded a webcam discussion, for example.

If someone asks you to share something that makes you uncomfortable, you have the right to refuse. In the same way, if you receive something that could cause trouble, embarrass, or hurt someone if it is distributed, don’t post it.

Examples of situations

Webcam blackmail

This phenomenon, which is quite common, occurs when someone you don’t know contacts you on social media, Skype, chat, etc. You talk for a long time and a bond of trust is formed between you. Then you move on to the next step: a discussion on webcam. The other person soon asks you to take your clothes off and then suddenly cuts the conversation short. He/she threatens to use and distribute the recorded pictures of you, unless you give him/her something, often money.

To identify this kind of scam, pay attention: do you know the person who’s contacting you? Is his/her photo realistic and have you checked to make sure it wasn’t taken from Google Images? Are the person’s comments consistent (unlike someone who tells you one day that he/she lives in Quebec and another day that it’s the United States)?

Other scams

While some people use feelings to scam their victims, others make use of other strategies: making you believe that you have won a vacation or that someone has deposited an overpayment in your bank account, selling you a product or service (that you’ll never get), trying to steal your identity online, asking for money for a good cause, offering you a loan, telling you you’ve won a lottery or inherited a legacy, etc.

What can I do? 🤷

If you’re in a situation where someone threatens to post a nude photo or video 😰 of you unless you give him/her more photos of that kind or money, immediately tell an adult you trust and contact the police. This is unacceptable and illegal behaviour in many countries. It is also recommended that you cut all contact with the person in question.

If you’re a victim of another kind of scam, it’s also important to denounce the scammer by reporting him/her when the tool allows this (for example, Facebook) or sharing what happened to prevent other people you know from also falling victim to him/her. You can also alert the police.

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