CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA)– U of I Police are investigating after a student reported that he was the victim of an extortion scheme.
On Saturday a student engaged in a consensual sex act via an internet chatroom with someone he met online. Things went south when he later learned that he was recorded without his knowledge. He said the offender threatened to share the video online unless the student paid ransom.
“That’s certainly an injustice,” one grad student, Michael Stablein, said. “That individual was wrong. And we should all take great care when meeting with individuals and suspicious characters.”
University Police said that while this issue is uncommon, but not new. They’ve previously warned students about the dangers of interacting with strangers online, and telling students to be especially careful because anyone can be behind the other screen.
They say that anyone who’s in a situation where they are being extorted, to not give offenders money under any circumstance. “Once you pay them the first time, it’s not a guarantee they’ll stop,” UIPD’s spokesperson Patrick Wade said. “They’ll say they want $3,000 now, but then come back around for more until you stop paying.”
Police said the best way to avoid getting into these situations is to be careful about what you do online, no matter who it’s with. And if you find yourself in a similar situation, report it to police immediately.