“Sextortion”: boys increasingly targeted by web scammers

“Sextortion”: boys increasingly targeted by scammers of the web


After young girls, more and more young boys are the target of scammers on the web who use naked photos to extort money or other intimate images.

The phenomenon known as “sextortion” has until now mainly affected young girls, but the situation has changed in recent months. For the first six months of 2022, 9 in 10 reports of sextortion on Cyberaid.ca involved boys.

Interviewed on J.E , René Morin, spokesperson for the Canadian Center for Child Protection and its site Cyberaide.ca, explains that the ploy most often used by sextortionists relies on the impulsiveness of boys. According to him, the victims believe they are communicating with a very pretty young girl who is going to undress and asks her to do the same. 

Fatal screenshot

“The sextorker will take a screenshot and then ask the young person for money so that the photo or video is not sent to all his contacts.”

Mr. Morin says that young people who ask for help are inhabited by a feeling of shame and are downright terrified. They are not on equal terms with those who attack them. Very often, these are criminal organizations abroad, in countries such as the Ivory Coast or the Philippines. 

René Morin, of the Canadian Center for the Protection of childhood, cybertip.ca.

When given money, sextorkers will often ask for more. René Morin invites victims not to give them what they want.

The Sûreté du Québec's online child sexual exploitation unit has also noted a significant increase in complaints of sextortion targeting teenagers aged 15 to 17 to obtain money. 

Hacker their accounts

Sergeant Katherine Guimond points out that young girls and boys are attacked for other reasons.

“[They do this] in order to obtain sexual images of these children, who will hack their account to obtain videos, make threats.”

The SQ also notes cases of self-exploitation of minors, which is also on the rise. These are young people who will undress to film themselves and publish the images on social networks. 

“They think they keep them private on their account. But it can become accessible.” 

Our surveys focus on children as young as six years old, says Katherine Guimond. 

“They have access to the phone, they have social media accounts. They go into the bedroom or the bathroom to film themselves touching themselves or performing sexual acts”, supports the policewoman, specifying that all this is often done without the knowledge of the parents.

What to do if your teen is “sextorted”? 

  • Keep calm and report it to cybertip.ca or contact your service police. 
  • Tell your teen to immediately cut off communication with the sextortor without deleting the account
  • DO NOT give in to the sextortion threats
  • Keep the conversations or a copy
  • Introduce your teen to resources that could help, such as AidezMoiSVP.ca and Cybertip.ca.

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Nude photos exchanged

The exchange of intimate photos among young people is a widespread phenomenon in many high schools in Quebec.

Police officers who work in high schools must regularly intervene with teenagers to warn them of the risks they run from sharing such photos.

One of the problems is that the exchange of “nudes” has become a normality for young people, says agent James Brito of the Gatineau police. “Nudes” is the expression that designates the intimate photos shared by young people.

The policeman who has worked in schools for three years finds that it has become so commonplace that young people exchange “nudes” like hockey cards. “I'll trade you two photos for one”, it became a reality according to agent Brito.

Clear message

In these files, I see that young people are naive, that they live in the present moment and that they don't think about the future drop the policeman. 

“We explain to them that in a couple, sharing of intimate images can be at risk when there are ruptures. That's why we talk to them about the phenomenon of sextortion and especially about the consequences.”

The Gatineau police force has tackled the problem of sextortion by, among other things, putting the awareness video online< /p>

“Your balls, your pussy, your cock #keepitforyou!”. An animated video that appeals to young people and is cited as an example in police circles.

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