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Extortion reports on the rise at CWRU; how to help students who are victims

Recently, Case Western Reserve University’s Police Department has received multiple reports of students falling victim to extortion schemes—in particular, “sextortion,” a form of blackmail in which a person threatens to expose explicit images of an individual to make them do something, such as pay money to the blackmailer.

Victims are never at fault in this crime. And they are not alone: Last year, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center received more than 18,000 sextortion complaints reporting that blackmailers were paid more than $13.6 million. But this type of blackmail continues to quietly grow, as it is often not talked about.

If you know of a student who may be the victim of sextortion, or extortion of any kind—or if you may be a victim yourself—please reach out to the Office of Equity at, 216.368.3066 or by completing our online form. The Office of Equity can help you determine action steps to stop these abusive and coercive acts and connect the victim with on-campus support resources.

You also can call CWRU Police at 216.368.3300 or email Officers are experienced in working with students dealing with various kinds of extortion and want to help.

Find more tips on how to address sextortion (or other related crimes) or limit your chances of becoming a victim.