Reports of financial sextortion scams targeting youth are flooding into the Saskatchewan RCMP lately. 

Financial sextortion is a form of blackmail that involves someone online threatening to send a sexual image or video of the victim to other people if they are not paid. While not new, this type of scam has been evolving thanks to social media and continues to affect more youth. 

According to a recent release from the Saskatchewan RCMP, they began investigating after receiving multiple reports of a scam in the province targeting youth of all genders between the ages of 13 and 16. 

In the reported cases, victims were approached by individuals who identified as females of a similar age online or through apps. The victims were asked for their Instagram usernames and to exchange intimate photos, and the photos were then used as blackmail in exchange for financial gain.

Once reported to Saskatchewan RCMP, files of this nature are investigated by the Violent Crime Linkage Analysis Section (ViCLAS) and the Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit, due to the victims being underaged.

In the 2022-2023 fiscal year, ICE responded to 931 cases -- in 2023-2024 that number is expected to surpass 1,000.

Parents are encouraged to talk to their children about online activities and how to stay safe during the rise of sextortion in the province. Below are a few tips to help keep both adults and children safe online:

  • Never answer messages or friend/follow requests from people you don’t know;
  • Do not send photos of any kind to people you don’t know;
  • Always answer video calls with the camera turned off until you know who the person calling is.

Anyone who has been targeted is asked to immediately stop all communication with the suspect, report the incident to local police, do not comply with the threat, and keep all correspondence between the victim and suspect. 

“What we want victims of any age to know, is that they are not to blame, they will not get in trouble for reporting it, and most importantly there is life after something like this happens” says S/Sgt. Scott Lambie of the Saskatchewan RCMP Major Crimes Branch. “There are people and resources available to help you and there are tools that exist to remove the images online. If you feel comfortable, reach out to your local police detachment or get more information at – and remember, you are not alone.”