Financial sextortion reports spike during school holidays in Australia-Xinhua

Financial sextortion reports spike during school holidays in Australia

Source: Xinhua| 2023-01-29 18:53:30|Editor: huaxia

SYDNEY, Jan. 29 (Xinhua) -- Australian Federal Police (AFP) warned that the school holiday period saw a surge in the online financial sextortion trend targeting young Australians.

According to a statement released Sunday, the spike came as children return to the classroom for the 2023 school year, with a nearly 60 percent rise in reports in December 2022 alone.

The latest data showed that teenage boys became the primary target for offenders, given that more than 90 percent of victim reports to police came from young males.

The federal police voiced deeper concern that the offending is far greater than what is being reported.

"We are seeing offshore criminal syndicates targeting a victim's entire friend list," said Acting Assistant Commissioner Hilda Sirec.

"This type of financial sextortion involves victims being coerced into sending sexualized images or videos of themselves by online offenders, usually with the offender pretending to be another young person. The offender then threatens to on-share the content to others unless the victim pays," the officer added.

Between June and December 2022, the AFP shut down over 1,000 Australian bank, financial services and digital currency accounts linked to offshore organized syndicates sexually exploiting Australian teenagers.

As this crime can cause significant fear and trauma to victims, police called for more open and honest conversations with children and young people about the risks online.