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As social media becomes increasingly used as a tool to find romantic partners or casual companionship, it also brings with it risks for a growing number of Lebanese people.Sevag Hadjian, 22, told The Daily Star his curiosity was piqued when an attractive-looking girl befriended him on Facebook in April. He began a conversation with the stranger, with whom Facebook indicated he shared a friend.While Hadjian doesn't know what would have happened if he had turned on his webcam, he believes he avoided a growing phenomenon in Lebanon: "sextortion".While little data exists on this relatively new crime, anecdotal evidence and police records suggest a growing number of people are falling prey.According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, an international organization combating cybercrimes, 45 percent of victims do not feel comfortable or able to confide in family or friends, leaving them vulnerable to further abuse.While SMEX argued more could be done by authorities in Lebanon to ensure cybercriminals are brought to justice, Moussallem said people reporting cases to the authorities was paramount to building knowledge about the scale of the phenomenon.Victims of cybercrime can report incidents to the Lebanese authorities on 01-293-293 .
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