From: Police Department

From time to time, the department is notified of scams targeting Virginia Tech students and employees. The following scam has been reported to the department.

A form of online sexual exploitation, commonly referred to as “sextortion,” is of continual and growing concern to law enforcement. In this situation, the victim is manipulated into sending sexually explicit/revealing images or videos of themselves to another online personality. The receiver may initially be someone known to the victim, a new internet acquaintance, or the receiver may pass images/videos to a third party. 

Once the receiver or third party is in possession of the images/video, they proceed to extort the victim with the threat of releasing the images to the victim’s family and friends, or to the public.

The extortion can be for monetary gain, additional images/video, and in some cases can lead to sexual abuse. The FBI maintains a web page that specifically speaks about the risk to teenagers, but people of any age can be put at risk of this type of criminal activity. 

Internet users are reminded that video chats can be recorded by a receiving party without the knowledge of the victim. Whether the victim voluntarily sends an image or a video to another person, or unknowingly is recorded by another person online during a video session, they lose control of the image and are at risk to being extorted. If you become aware of a situation like this or are a victim, contact your local law enforcement agency. If the situation involves a juvenile, you can also contact the local FBI field office or the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at 1-800-the-lost.  Make sure you do not delete anything from your computer so law enforcement is able to review it.

Community members who receive a call they believe seems suspicious should contact the Virginia Tech Police Department at 540-231-6411.

More information is available online about scams perpetrated throughout in United States.

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