“Growing threat”

2 George Mason U students are latest victims of “sextortion” threats online

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Two students at George Mason University were goaded into sending videos of themselves performing sex acts over the internet to unidentified suspects that then tried to make them pay $5,000 to prevent their release, the university said in a warning to the campus community on Monday. The suspects gained the trust of the two students and asked them to broadcast the acts through their webcams, then threatened to circulate the videos on the internet unless the students coughed up the money.

The case is the latest in a growing number of “sextortion” cases that the Justice Department said in April is the most significantly growing threat to children, one that is often committed by organized groups of blackmailers who seek out children they consider “easy targets because of their demonstrated willingness to post personal content online,” the DOJ said.  Sextortion can have devastating consequences for victims, including cutting, depression, dropping out of school, and other forms of self-harm. An analysis of 43 sextortion cases by the FBI found that 28 percent of victims attempted or committed suicide.

Amanda Todd, a 13-year-old from Canada who made a startling video about her sextortion case in 2012, is one of those victims. Todd struggled with depression and attempted suicide, she said in her video. Shortly after the video was posted, she committed suicide. Watch her message in the video below.

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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