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Police arrest two men in Nigeria accused of sextortion of Australian schoolboy | #cybercrime | #computerhacker

Two people have been arrested in Nigeria over an alleged sextortion racket involving an Australian schoolboy.

The New South Wales (NSW) teenager, who had traded explicit pictures online with the accused men, killed himself last year after they started to blackmail him.

The accused, described as “young males”, threatened to release the images if the victim did not pay Aus$500 (£260), the NSW police said.

The men were traced by the NSW state crime command’s cybercrime squad to a slum in Nigeria that houses over 25 million people.

“The messages are horrific. They’re aggressive and put a lot of pressure on the boy to pay the money,” NSW police’s cybercrime commander Matthew Craft told the Sydney Morning Herald.

The boy spent his final evening messaging the two men, who posed as a woman. It was a “jovial banter at first” until they sent the boy a racy picture of a woman and encouraged him to send his, the commander said.

Soon as he did, the tone of the messages changed and the extortionists started demanding money. If he didn’t pay, they threatened to send his pictures to his family and school friends. The boy died by suicide hours later.

The investigation found that the arrested men had allegedly tried to extort other people, according to their phone records.

“The males will be dealt with locally, where authorities have the power to prosecute for Australian based offences,” police said.

The case hints at a wider sextortion racket run by West African crime gangs as it was similar to the deaths of schoolboys Robin Janjua and William Doiron of Canada and Jordan Demay of the US.

DeMay,17, died by suicide on 25 March 2022, after two Nigerian men posing as a woman threatened to release his nude photos to the world.

His last message read: “I’m killing myself right now. Because of you.”

Commander Craft said young people did not need to suffer in silence and should report such cases to police. “We’ve seen a huge spike in sextortion cases, which are up nearly 400% in the last 18 months,” he said.

“We want young people to continue to report these cases and to never be embarrassed to talk to police.”

If you are experiencing feelings of distress and isolation, or are struggling to cope, The Samaritans offers support; you can speak to someone for free over the phone, in confidence, on 116 123 (UK and ROI), email, or visit the Samaritans website to find details of your nearest branch.

If you are based in the USA, and you or someone you know needs mental health assistance right now, call National Suicide Prevention Helpline on 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Helpline is a free, confidential crisis hotline that is available to everyone 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you are in another country, you can go to find a helpline near you.


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