Online predators are using the social media app Instagram to lure university students away from campus and then sexually assaulting and drugging them, according to Montreal’s Concordia University.
In a statement on Monday, the university warned students that it had received two reports of drugging and sexual assault tied to unsolicited online offers of professional development.
Montreal police are investigating. They believe there may have been other victims.
CTV Montreal reports that two female students were attacked in separate incidents in September and December of last year, and one of the alleged victims came forward last week.
Concordia University’s public relations director Mary-Jo Barr said the school “moved as quickly as possible to inform students as broadly and as widely as we could.”
Neither police nor Concordia have released information about the women’s identities or about the type of job they were applying for.
Social media expert and educational consultant Alissa Sklar said that it’s not uncommon to hear of people being lured online under false pretenses.
“If you are going to set up a meeting … I would insist that it happen in a public place … unless it’s in a large office building or a place where it’s clearly an office, a place of business,” Sklar advised.
Jennifer Drummond, coordinator at Concordia University’s sexual assault resource centre, said she is distressed and worried about the situation.
“It’s scary, to hear this – that people are being lured through online platforms,” she said.
Anyone with information or in need of help is asked to contact the school's Sexual Assault Resource Centre at 514-848-2424, ext. 3353, or the Security Department at 514-848-3717, option 1.