ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – The RCMP is sounding a warning after several reports in Newfoundland and Labrador of a social medial scam involving ‘sextortion’.
The scammers lure a person into an online relationship through friend requests on Facebook.
As the relationship builds, victims are encouraged to perform a sexual act on camera or take intimate photos of themselves and forward to the scammer, who then threatens the victim with releasing the photos or video to Facebook friends and family unless a fee is paid.
In some cases, the scammer also claims to be underage and threatens to call the police.
Cpl. Kent Luther of RCMP’s tech crime unit in the province said the easiest way protect against these types of scams is to not accept friend requests on Facebook from people you don’t know.
“While we haven’t had a lot of complaints about this activity, we also believe it is likely underreported, as those who are victimized are fearful because of the extortion tactics and may feel ashamed that they engaged in a sexual manner via social media,” Luther said in a release.
“The criminals who perpetrate these types of crimes may not discriminate - anyone can be targeted, young or older.”
The RCMP says anyone who feels they are a victim of a sextortion scam should immediately stop all forms of communication and do not comply with the threats.
You should also contact your local police or the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre toll-free at 1-888-495-8501.