Rise in Sexual Extortion via Instagram Incidents Shocks University of Illinois Students


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URBANA-CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign (U of I) issued a Campus Safety Notice on September 22, warning students and staff of a recent uptick in “sexual extortion” incidents.

According to the alert, one assault and three concerning scams have been reported within just a week. Notably, one victim reported an assault in a residence hall, where the offender was unfamiliar to them. Three other incidents unfolded on Instagram, where students became victims after engaging in intimate video chats. Following these exchanges, the perpetrators threatened to publicly expose the students unless they paid.

The university emphasizes that victims are never to blame and that responsibility solely lies with the perpetrators. To fend off potential scammers, the U of I urges students to be cautious in digital conversations, to avoid sharing personal details on social media, and to reinforce their privacy settings.

Anyone doubtful about the authenticity of an online conversation or worried about their safety should contact the University Police at 217-333-1216 or police@illinois.edu. Students in distress due to these incidents can seek immediate support from the Student Assistance Center or the Emergency Dean Program.

Various on-campus resources, such as the Women’s Resources Center, McKinley Health Center, and Counseling Center, offer assistance for those impacted by sexual misconduct. External organizations, including RAINN, are also available for help.


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